UN Human Rights Council should maintain its scrutiny of Sri Lanka as justice remains elusive

ORAL STATEMENT

ITEM 2: Interactive Dialogue on the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report on Sri Lanka A/HRC/40/23

UN Human Rights Council should maintain its scrutiny of Sri Lanka as justice remains elusive

UN Human Rights Council

Fortieth session

25 February -22 March 2019

 

Mr. President,

Amnesty International welcomes the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. We share the High Commissioner’s concerns over the government’s slow progress in establishing meaningful transitional justice measures, which as the report highlights, has engendered a loss of faith among victims and other stakeholders.

While some positive steps have been taken by the government, Amnesty International is particularly concerned that the government of Sri Lanka has made no progress on implementing its commitment “to establish a judicial mechanism with a special counsel to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law”. As a result of the ongoing failure of the authorities to hold perpetrators to account, including for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, impunity prevails.  Amnesty International therefore supports the report’s call for UN member states to investigate and prosecute such crimes wherever possible, including by exercising universal jurisdiction.

Mr. President, given the slow progress of the government of Sri Lanka in taking other measures to ensure justice, truth, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, we urge that the Council maintains scrutiny of Sri Lanka’s efforts and continue the High Commissioner’s reporting on Sri Lanka’s implementation of its commitments in Resolution 30/1 by regular interim reporting through oral updates and interactive dialogues.

Amnesty International calls on the government of Sri Lanka to continue engaging with the international community to implement recommendations in the High Commissioner’s report, along with outstanding commitments made in resolution 30/1. In this endeavour, Mr. President, the government of Sri Lanka should cooperate with OHCHR and all relevant stakeholders to develop a time-bound implementation plan.

Thank you.