Concerns on Sri Lanka at UNHRC session

Concerns on Sri Lanka at UNHRC session

Concerns on Sri Lanka at UNHRC session

Written by Staff Writer

25 Feb, 2021 | 9:02 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): The interactive dialogue on the report of the UN human rights chief on Sri Lanka continued for the second day at the 46th UN Human Rights Council sessions today.

Several members countries of the UN expressed their views on the report during the session.

The UK, that leads the Core Group on Sri Lanka had raised concerns on several matters including the “harassment” of civil society actors”, militarization of government functions, and the mandatory cremation policy.

Rob Oliphant, Canada’s Parliamentary Sec. to the Minister of Foreign Affairs also echoed similar concerns on the matter.

“Civilian Government and independent judiciary, civil society space, respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law are all being undermined,” Oliphant said.

Australia called on Sri Lanka to “ensure its legal framework including counter-terrorism legislation is in line with international standards”.

Concerns were raised on matters relating to media freedom in the country as well.

“We are concerned by increasing accounts of marginalisation of minority communities in shrinking space for civil society, including independent media,” a US envoy told the UNHRC session.

But countries such as China and the Philippines backed Sri Lanka in the face of the report by the UN human rights chief.

“We are concerned about the prominent lack of impartiality showing in the OHCR’s report on Sri Lanka,” China’s representative said.

The Philippines insisted that the report “fails to ground itself properly on contextual realities, particularly the challenges of addressing the grave threats of the pandemic and terrorism to Sri Lanka’s 21.3 milllion people”.

“We note that despite challenges, the government of Sri Lanka actively pursues reconciliation, accountablity and human rights through domestic processes with all stakeholders,” a representative from Philippines insisted.

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