Government will not fully comply with OHCHR report

By Easwaran Rutnam

The Government says it will not fully comply with the report on Sri Lanka by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said that Sri Lanka is not prepared to take any steps which harm the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.

The Government is expected to formally submit its response to the report today.

Rambukwella told reporters at the post Cabinet press briefing today that Sri Lanka has a right to address the human rights issue in a manner that it deems fit.

The Minister said that Sri Lanka will not implement the UN Human Rights Council Resolution co-sponsored by the former Government as it is not in the best interest of the country.

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

A copy of the report has been sent to the Sri Lankan Government for its right of reply before it is made public.

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The current Government has already withdrawn from Resolution 30/1 and the subsequent Resolution 40/1, which were cosponsored by the UNP Government.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