Replying to the follow up Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence on the visit to Sri Lanka on 6th September 2021, the government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has reiterated that it is not bound by any resolution passed by the United Nations’ Human Rights Council without its consent.
GoSL stated that Resolution 46/1 was presented to the HRC without the consent of Sri Lanka as the country concerned and was adopted by a divided vote. It was presented in spite of Sri Lanka’s continuous engagement with the UN and the Council and the continued and tangible progress demonstrated by Sri Lanka, while battling the effects the COVID-19 pandemic, in addressing issues related to achieving peace, reconciliation and development, including accountability, within the domestic legal framework of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is of the view that this resolution will only serve to polarize Sri Lankan society and adversely affect economic development, peace and harmony at this extremely challenging time brought about by the pandemic. Sri Lanka rejects the establishment of any external evidence gathering mechanism, when domestic remedies and processes are ongoing. The international community is well aware that, without the consent and cooperation of the country concerned, such external accountability mechanisms are subject to politicization and cannot achieve their stated human rights objectives.
The government said that the recorded history of Sri Lanka portrays that a comprehensive system of dispute resolution existed and the current system introduced by the British in 1801 continues to playa robust role in the administration of justice. In this context, the judicial system that has prevailed in Sri Lanka over the years has proved to be independent, and several other jurisdictions including the UN tribunals and the International Court of Justice have invited and drawn from the expertise of Sri Lankan judges and prosecutors in complementing and strengthening the respective judicial systems. It may be noted that Fiji and Seychelles are amongst such countries that have sought the expertise of Sri Lankan judges.
It is the firm belief of Sri Lanka that the contents of resolution 46/1 does not reflect the actual ground situation in the country, a situation which, from an objective point of view, in no way warrants the disproportionate attention or the financial and human resources required by resolution 46/1. At a time of financial constraints for the HRC, the PBI of this resolution runs into over 2.8 million dollars, and makes provision for over a dozen new staff members.