International participation in the accountability mechanism will be important

UNHRC ResolutionA number of countries voiced their support for the High Commissioner’s oral update and re-asserted their commitment to ensuring full implementation of Resolution 30/1, while welcoming the positive steps taken by the Government

The US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Keith Harper said that in the interim the US would encourage the Government of Sri Lanka to make continued tangible steps in fulfilling their commitments reflected in Resolution 30/1 and elsewhere to credible justice, accountability and reconciliation mechanisms.

Britain said much still remains to be done by the Sri Lankan Government to fulfil all the commitments it has made and that these steps will require courageous and determined political leadership. It said that civilian land occupied by the military in the north should be released. The Government should repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act as soon as possible. We urge the Government to deliver on its commitment to devolve political authority through constitutional reform, and to put in place credible transitional justice mechanisms underpinned by meaningful consultations and effective witness protection.”

The Netherlands replying on behalf of the European Union said International participation in the accountability mechanism will be important in ensuring that the process is both credible and perceived as such by all sides in line with the October commitments.

Canada reiterated that international involvement in a judicial mechanism was importance to “enhance its credibility, especially to victims.” It wanted the Government to take an inclusive and coordinated, approach to the reforms to ensure the fulfilment of all of the commitments agreed to in the resolution, especially on the reconciliation and accountability processes.

Canada said it noted the progress made towards constitutional reforms, the establishment of the Office of Missing Persons, and the release of some lands in militarised zones.

Macedonia noted that resolution 30/1 of the HRC contains 36 recommendations to the Government of Sri Lanka and that the processes of accountability and reconciliation require time, but the existing opportunity should not be prolonged indefinitely.  It said we would like to encourage the Government of Sri Lanka to accelerate credible investigations and seeking justice regarding the violations of Human Rights with appropriate forms of international support and involvement in accordance with the relevant paragraphs of the resolution,” the Macedonian delegation said.

The Norwegian delegation at the UNHRC said that all initiatives for reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka should continue to be based on inclusive consultations with victims, civil society and the general population.

Ghana said that it remained concern about issues regarding the release of lands and detainees, the Prevention of Terrorism Act, a failure to address witness and victim protection laws, and continued allegations of arbitrary arrests, torture/sexual violence and military surveillance. Ghana then called on the UN to remain engaged in Sri Lanka and continue providing assistance.

The Russian delegation at the UN Human Rights Council said that Sri Lanka should be allowed to address its domestic affairs without outside interference.

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