Sri Lanka should ‘remain firmly on the agenda’ | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka should ‘remain firmly on the agenda’

UN Human Rights High Commissioner said that Sri Lanka should ‘remain firmly on the agenda’ of the Human Rights Council due to ‘lack of progress’ shown by the country to its own commitments to address ‘HR issues’.

The High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet in her report urged the Human Rights Council to remain closely engaged with the Government of Sri Lanka and to continue to monitor developments in the country.

The High Commissioner presented the report which assessed Sri Lanka’s own pledges on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights under resolution 30/1 to the Human Rights Council on Friday.

In the report, OHCHR reviewed the progress by the Government of Sri Lanka between October 2015 and January 2019 in implementing resolution 30/1, paying special attention to the period since January 2018, not covered in the High Commissioner’s previous reports.

She said that the OHCHR continued to receive credible information about cases of abduction, unlawful detention, torture and sexual violence by the Sri Lankan Security Forces,which had allegedly taken place from 2016 to 2018.

The report acknowledged that the Government has made progress in human rights issues and its engagement with civil society. Yet, ‘progress in its commitments to transitional justice has been inconsistent and subject to considerable delay, partly because of the lack of a time-bound comprehensive strategy’, she said.

The Human Rights High Commissioner noted in the report that segments of civil society still call for international investigations into alleged war-time crimes, and encouraged member states to ‘prosecute Sri Lankans suspected of crimes against humanity, war crimes or other gross violations of human rights, in accordance with universal jurisdiction principles’.

Sri Lanka is expected to co-sponsor a rollover resolution with the UK and other members seeking an extension to the UNHRC resolution 30/1 of 2015 in the third week of this month just before curtain call. A team comprising former Ministers Mahinda Samarasinghe, Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Northern Province Governor Dr. Suren Raghavan is expected to leave for Geneva, as special representatives of the President by next week to attend the 40th session of the HRC and seek a possible retraction of resolution 30/1.