Repeal & Replace PTA and implement 13A, calls from UPR members

Repeal & Replace PTA and implement 13A, calls from UPR members

Written by Zulfick Farzan

02 Feb, 2023 | 9:24 am

COLOMBO (News 1st) – The international community has called for Sri Lanka to repeal the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act, and India has again called for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

These comments were made when Sri Lanka's National Report under the 4th Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was taken up at the UNHRC.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. 

The 4th Cycle of the UPR commenced in November 2022 and Sri Lanka’s Fourth UPR commenced on Wednesday (1) during the 42nd session of the UPR Working Group, in Geneva. 

106 Member States spoke at the meeting, and the UPR 42 Working Group is set to adopt the report on Sri Lanka on Friday, 3 February at 16:30 (Geneva time).

Sri Lanka’s delegation to the Review was led by Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry by means of a pre-recorded video statement. 

Minister Ali Sabry said that on economic stabilization, the Government is keenly aware and sensitive to the hardships encountered by the people due to certain recent reforms. 

However, these are necessary structural reforms that have long been overdue and essential to make the economy sustainable in the long run, he added.

"The Government is addressing the underlying issues on a priority basis including by implementing strict financial control and oversight measures.  This includes the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Bill which includes provisions to ensure and strengthen the independence of the Central Bank. The availability of essential items including fertilizer, fuel, medicine and energy has been maintained. Normal public, civilian and administrative routines have resumed after extended interruptions due to the pandemic and the social protests. Food and energy security have been brought under control," he said.

The current austerity and economic stabilization measures have brought severe hardships for the people and the Government is committed through multi-pronged measures to afford its highest priority to addressing the adverse socio- economic impacts, noted the Minister.

At UPR 42, Member States commended Sri Lanka for the following:

– Its cooperation with UN Human Rights mechanisms
– Efforts made at inclusive political reform and to advance national reconciliation following social unrest
– Tackling corruption
– Achieving its COVID-19 vaccination target
– Combating human trafficking
– Tackling gender-based violence 
– Efforts to protect vulnerable groups

At UPR 42, Member States recommended Sri Lanka for the following:

– Repeal and replace anti-terrorism legislation
– Abolishes the death penalty 
– Strengthen women’s rights and empowerment
– Protect and promote the rights of LGBTI+ people
– Promotes continuing human rights  education 
– Prevents gender-based violence 
– Raises awareness of human rights, especially for young people 
– Decriminalizes consensual same-sex acts between adults
– Ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
– Ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child
– Fully implement transitional justice mechanisms
– Take further measures to combat violence against children 
– Criminalize marital rape 
– Eradicates female genital mutilation
– Ensure access to sexual and reproductive health
– Promote religious tolerance, freedom of expression and peaceful protest
– Combat hate speech
– Strengthen the protection of the rights of migrants
– Implement Human Rights Council resolutions promoting national reconciliation
– Take measures to ensure the participation of women in social and political life
– Take further measures to prevent sexual violence and domestic violence
– Review labour policy restricting women’s right to work

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