UN rights chief sends critical report on Sri Lanka to Government

By Easwaran Rutnam 

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is expected to table a damning report on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next month, Daily Mirror learns.

UN sources told Daily Mirror an advanced copy of the report is expected to be published well ahead of the Geneva session to ensure it makes an impact.

Sources also said that a copy of the report has been sent to the Sri Lankan Government for its right of reply before it is made public.

When contacted by Daily Mirror, State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya confirmed that Sri Lanka has received a copy of the report.

However, Balasuriya said that as of yesterday (Wednesday) Sri Lanka was yet to submit its response to the report.

Sri Lanka is on the agenda of the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council set to take place between 22 February – 19 March 2021.

During the session, Bachelet will submit a comprehensive report on Sri Lanka on the implementation of Council Resolution 30/1 on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka.

Bachelet is expected to raise criticism over the failure of the Government (both current and former) to ensure its commitments to the Council were met on the human rights issue.

The current Government has already withdrawn from Resolution 30/1 and the subsequent Resolution 40/1, which were cosponsored by the UNP Government.

The Government was given time from 2015 to March this year through the two Resolutions, to show progress on the human rights issue.

However, the international community and human rights groups have accused the Government of failing to meet its commitments.

In September last year Bachelet had said she was troubled that the new Government was swiftly reneging on its commitments to the Human Rights Council since it withdrew its support for resolution 30/1.

She had encouraged the Council to give renewed attention to Sri Lanka, in view of the need to prevent threats to peace, reconciliation and sustainable development.