UNHRC : Core Group produces 19-point resolution on Sri Lanka

UNHRC : Core Group produces 19-point resolution on Sri Lanka

UNHRC : Core Group produces 19-point resolution on Sri Lanka

Written by Zulfick Farzan

05 Oct, 2022 | 11:20 am

COLOMBO (News 1st) – The Core Group at the United Nations Human Rights Council has produced a 19-point resolution on Sri Lanka.

This is a draft resolution and it has received the support of thirty other countries Albania,* Australia,* Austria,* Belgium,* Bosnia and Herzegovina,* Bulgaria,* Canada,* Croatia,* Cyprus,* Czechia,* Denmark,* Estonia,* Finland, Germany, Greece,* Iceland,* Ireland,* Italy,* Latvia,* Liechtenstein,* Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta,* Montenegro,* Netherlands, New Zealand,* North Macedonia,* Norway,* Portugal,* Romania,* Slovakia,* Slovenia,* Sweden,* Switzerland,* United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America.

The draft resolution noting with appreciation the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights towards the promotion and protection of human rights and truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka, has made the following 19-points.

1.Welcomes the oral update presented by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council at its forty-ninth session and the report of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights presented to the Council at its current session;

2.Also welcomes the engagement of the Government of Sri Lanka with the Office of the High Commissioner and the special procedures of the Human Rights Council, encourages the continuation of such engagement and dialogue, and calls upon Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations made by the Office and to give due consideration to the recommendations made by the special procedures;

3.Expresses concern at the human rights impact of the economic crisis, including as a result of increased food insecurity, severe shortages in fuel, shortages in essential medicines and reductions in household incomes, while stressing the need to promote and protect the rights of the most marginalized and disadvantaged individuals, including daily wage earners, women, children, older persons and persons with disabilities;

4.Also expresses concern at other human rights developments since April 2022, including violence against and the arrests of peaceful protestors, as well as violence against government supporters, resulting in deaths, injuries, destruction and damage to the houses of members of Parliament, and stresses the importance of independent investigations into all attacks and that those found responsible be held to account;

5.Stresses the importance of protecting civilian government functions from militarization and of addressing the independence of the judiciary and key institutions responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms; the grievances and demands of Tamil and Muslim populations; prolonged internal displacement; land disputes; the surveillance, intimidation and harassment of journalists, civil society activists, human rights defenders, families of disappeared persons, and persons involved in memorialization initiatives; and of combating sexual and gender-based violence;

6.Also stresses the importance of a comprehensive accountability process for all violations and abuses of human rights committed in Sri Lanka by all parties, including those abuses by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam;

7.Notes the persistent lack of independent, impartial, and transparent domestic mechanisms, and stresses the importance of ensuring investigations into, and accountability for, grave violations of human rights; 

8.Recognizes the importance of preserving and analysing evidence relating to violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes in Sri Lanka with a view to advancing accountability, and decides to extend and reinforce the capacity of the Office of the High Commissioner to collect, consolidate, analyse and preserve information and evidence and to develop possible strategies for future accountability processes for gross violations of human rights or serious violations of international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka, to advocate for victims and survivors, and to support relevant judicial and other proceedings, including in Member States, with competent jurisdiction;

9.Notes the initial outreach of the Government of Sri Lanka to overseas persons of Sri Lankan origin encompassing all communities and generations, and encourages the Government to engage further in a broad-based consultative process with stakeholders from all affected communities and to provide remedies to achieve meaningful reconciliation, devolution of political authority, an improved situation of human rights, and lasting peace;

10.Urges the Government of Sri Lanka to foster freedom of religion or belief and pluralism by promoting the ability of all religious communities to manifest their religion, and to contribute openly and on an equal footing to society;

11.Also urges the Government of Sri Lanka to take measures to address the marginalization of and discrimination against persons from the Muslim community, and to ensure that Muslims and members of other religions are able to continue to practice their own religious rites, including burial rites;

12.Calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure the prompt, thorough and impartial investigation and, if warranted, prosecution of all alleged crimes relating to human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law, including for long-standing emblematic cases, with the full participation of victims and their representatives;

13.Also calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to address the ongoing economic crisis, including by investigating and, where warranted, prosecuting corruption, including where committed by public and former public officials, and stands ready to assist and support independent, impartial and transparent efforts in this regard;

14.Stresses the importance of the effective and independent functioning of the Office on Missing Persons and the Office for Reparations, while noting that the tangible results expected by victims and other stakeholders are yet to be achieved, including resolving the many cases of enforced disappearance so that the families of disappeared persons can know their fate and whereabouts, and also the importance of the effective and independent functioning of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka;

15.Calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to protect civil society actors, including human rights defenders, to investigate any attacks and to ensure a safe and enabling environment in which civil society can operate free from hindrance, surveillance, insecurity and threat of reprisals;

16.Notes the introduction in March 2022 of amendments to the Prevention of Terrorism Act, that detentions under that law continue, and the expressed intention of the Government of Sri Lanka in this regard to introduce new legislation on combating terrorism, and encourages the Government to engage in consultations with civil society, the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant special procedure mandate holders in the preparation of new legislation, in order to ensure that any legislation on combating terrorism complies fully with the State’s obligations arising from international human rights law and international humanitarian law;

17.Notes with appreciation the continued engagement of the Government of Sri Lanka with the special procedures of the Human Rights Council, and encourages the Government to continue that cooperation, including by responding formally to outstanding requests from them;

18.Encourages the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant special procedure mandate holders to provide, in consultation with and with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka, advice and technical assistance on implementing the above-mentioned steps;

19.Requests the Office of the High Commissioner to enhance its monitoring and reporting on the situation of human rights in Sri Lanka, including on progress in reconciliation and accountability, and on the impact of the economic crisis and corruption on human rights, and to present an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its fifty-third and fifty-fifth sessions, and a written update at its fifty-fourth session and a comprehensive report that includes further options for advancing accountability at its fifty-seventh session, both to be discussed in the context of an interactive dialogue.

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