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UK and Germany table Resolution on Sri Lanka at UNHRC

Colombo | Sri Lanka is once again under international pressure to implement fully the measures identified by the UNHRC in 2015 to address human rights concerns after the United Kingdom and Germany on Tuesday tabled a resolution at the UN body in Geneva.

The UN rights office calls for international investigations into alleged war crimes and encourages member states to prosecute Sri Lankans suspected of war crimes in accordance with universal jurisdiction principles.

Titled “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka”, the rollover resolution requests the Office of the High Commissioner to continue to assess progress on the implementation of its recommendations and other relevant processes related to reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka.

It also calls for presenting a written update to the UNHRC at its 43rd session, and a comprehensive report, followed by a discussion on the implementation of Council resolution 30/1, at its 46th session, a foreign ministry source said.

The resolution which Sri Lanka is expected to co-sponsor is termed A/HRC/40/L.1 and was also endorsed by Canada, Germany, Montenegro, North Macedonia, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, according to the source.

The resolution follows the report submitted by the UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Brachelet last week.  The report reviews the progress made by Sri Lanka since October 2015 and January 2019. It assessed Sri Lanka’s pledge on promoting reconciliation and human rights accountability.

Brachelet’s report said that her office has been receiving credible information on cases of abduction, unlawful detention torture and sexual violence by the Sri Lankan security forces allegedly taken place from 2016 to 2018. The report has acknowledged the government’s progress in human rights issues and its engagement with civil society.

The Resolution requests the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant special procedure mandate holders in consultation with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka to continue to strengthen their advice and technical assistance on the promotion and protection of human rights and truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has resisted calls for international investigations citing constitutional constraints for foreign judges to operate in the island. The UNHRC resolutions since 2013 had censured Sri Lanka on its alleged human rights abuses.

They called for probing of the rights abuses by both the LTTE and the government troops by setting up an international investigation.

The Tamil rights groups continue to pressurise the government for meaningful accountability process for human rights violations in order to achieve reconciliation.

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