The next months will be important: Zeid Al Hussein

Prince ZeidAddressing the UN Human Rights Council 31 session on 10 March 2016 after submitting his annual report, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that important steps have been taken to reform the Constitution, revive independent institutions, and restore an environment for free expression and debate.

Zeid said there are important lessons in this respect for Sri Lanka, which is on its own journey toward accountability, reconciliation and durable peace. Important steps have been taken to reform the Constitution, revive independent institutions, and restore an environment for free expression and debate. Powerful symbolic gestures of reconciliation have been made, for instance singing the national anthem in Tamil – although other steps, such as the release of land held by the military, reviewing the cases of security detainees, and resolving the issue of disappearances, need to move forward faster.

The next months will be important, as the Government embarks on national consultations for the design of a comprehensive transitional justice process to implement fully this Council’s resolution.  It will be very important that this takes place in an environment free of surveillance and intimidation, so the voices of victims can be heard. Reports of violations must be promptly investigated and addressed. I look forward to reporting to you further on progress at the June session. (OHCHR)

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