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UN Human Rights Chief Urge the Council to Explore All Possible Avenues for Advancing Accountability in Sri Lanka - Rejects the Gov's Another Commission of Inquiry

Geneva, 27 February 2020 - "The fundamental problem remains that Sri Lanka has still not addressed impunity for past violations, nor undertaken the security sector reforms needed to address their drivers and enablers. Systemic barriers that continue to exist within the criminal justice system remain an impediment to real justice. Domestic processes have consistently failed to deliver accountability in the past and I am not convinced the appointment of yet another Commission of Inquiry will advance this agenda. As a result, victims remain denied justice and Sri Lankans from all communities have no guarantee that past patterns of human rights violations will not recur. I urge the Council to remain alert to this situation in terms of prevention and to explore all possible avenues for advancing accountability," United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Michelle Bachelet said today.

Sri Lanka: Need an International Accountability Mechanism - Amnesty, HRW, ICJ ...

Establish an International Accountability Mechanism - Amnesty International, HRW, ICJ, 8 International HR Organisations, Sri Lanka Campaign, Tamil Torture Survivors, Pearl Action, TGTE, Australian Tamil Congres Statements.

France Asks Sri Lanka to Honor UN Pledges on Rights

February 27, 2020, COLOMBO — France asked Sri Lanka to end impunity and ensure ethnic reconciliation a day after Colombo withdrew from a United Nations resolution investigating alleged atrocities during its decades-long separatist war, says a AFP News Agency report from Colombo.

Thierry Mathou, director of Asia and Oceania for the French Foreign Ministry said Colombo could not wish away the 2015 Human Rights Council resolution which the previous Sri Lankan administration co-sponsored with the unanimous support of UN's rights body.

International HR Organisations Call on the UNHRC to Establish an International Accountability Mechanism on Sri Lanka

Geneva, 28 February 2020 - "We urge this Council to hold Sri Lanka accountable to its obligations under international law. Given this week’s announcement that the new Government will not continue to engage with the clear framework agreed through resolution 30/1; the failure of past domestic reconciliation and accountability mechanisms; and the ongoing compromise of the rule of law as pointed out by the High Commissioner yesterday, we call on the Council to establish an international accountability mechanism on Sri Lanka," eight International Human Rights organisation stated today in a  Joint Oral Statement at the ongoing 43rd session of the Human Rights Council.

Buddhism is Granted “Supremacy” over Other Religions: UN Report Criticises Sri Lanka's Treatment of Religious Communities

Geneva, 28 February 2020 - "One of the challenges the country faces is the lack of equality amongst religious communities especially when Article 9 of the Constitution explicitly guarantees Buddhism the foremost place and mandates the State with the duty to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana. The provision is almost equivalent to Buddhism being made the official religion of the State," UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Mr. Ahmed Shaheed says in a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council's ongoing 43rd session.

EU calls on the government of Sri Lanka to maintain a sustainable and durable reconciliation process

Geneva, 27 February 2020 - The Europian Union in a statement today at the UN Humann Rights Council's 43rd session expressed concern that the government of Sri Lanka no longer supports the framework of Resolution 30/1 to address the legacy of the past conflict and to foster accountability, reconciliation and human rights with the support of the Council. It called on the government of Sri Lanka to maintain a sustainable and durable reconciliation process, including by ensuring the continued work of the Office for Missing Persons and the Office for Reparations, by replacing the Prevention of Terrorism Act, and through confidence-building measures.

Deeply Disappointed on Sri Lanka's Change of Approach: "We remain profoundly committed to UNHRC resolution 30/1" - Joint Statement by Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Montenegro and the UK

Geneva, 27 February 2020 - Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Montenegro and the UK, the Core Group on Sri Lanka, in a joint statement expressed deep disappointment and concern that the Sri Lanka government has changed its approach to the UNHRC resolution. "We remain profoundly committed to resolution 30/1 and its principles of reconciliation, accountability, intercommunal harmony, and justice for victims of conflict," they said.

They also shared the High Commissioner’s concern at the growing number of reports of harassment and surveillance of human rights defenders and victims of human rights violations in Sri Lanka. "The protection of civil society, independent media and human rights institutions from intimidation remains critical to fulfill Sri Lanka’s commitment to a free and open democratic society, both in the build up to, and beyond the upcoming Parliamentary elections," they stated.

Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in another statement at the UNHRC refuted allegations

Geneva, 27 February 2020 - Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena for the second day making a statement at the UN Human Rights Council refuted the allegations mentioned in the High Commissioners report.

Sri Lanka Withdraws from Co-Sponsorship of UNHRC Resolution 40/1 on Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights

Geneva, 26 February 2020 -  Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, addressing the 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva today, announced Sri Lanka’s decision to withdraw from co-sponsorship of Resolution 40/1 on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ which also incorporates and builds on preceding Resolutions 30/1 of October 2015 and 34/1 of March 2017.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to Fully Implement Resolution 30/1 and Continue to Engage Positively

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Michelle Bachelet encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to fully implement resolution 30/1 and continue to engage positively with OHCHR and United Nations human rights mechanisms to promote reconciliation, accountability and human rights as critical elements for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. She in a report urges the Human Rights Council to sustain its close monitoring of and engagement on developments in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan official misrepresents discussion of UN human rights report - UN Human Rights Chief Ms Michelle Bachelet

GENEVA (27 March 2019) — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet said Wednesday that a newspaper article quoting a senior Sri Lankan official "seriously misrepresents" her discussion of the recent UN Human Rights Office report1 on Sri Lanka with a Government delegation attending the Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 20. "Neither of these claims are true," Bachelet said. "Either the newspaper misunderstood the Governor, or the Governor misunderstood – or misquoted – me." The High Commissioner said she stands fully behind her report and the oral statement at the UNHRC. "I am deeply disappointed by the spin that has been put on my discussion with the Sri Lankan Government delegation," she said, noting that other news outlets in Sri Lanka were also continuing to significantly misrepresent the Human Rights Council process in Geneva.

Sri Lanka Campaign Suggests to UN member states: A 'IIIM-style' International Mechanism to Collect, Consolidate and Preserve Sri Lanka's Atrocity Crimes Evidence

23 March 2019 - Sri Lanka Campaign, a global non-partisan movement, in Twitter posts yesterday suggested to UN member states "A IIIM-style International Mechanism to Collect, Consolidate and Preserve Sri Lanka's Atrocity Crimes Evidence". UN member states should be brainstorming and putting on table in order to ratchet up pressure, it said. It quoted an interesting short paper by 'European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights' (ECCHR) considering ways in which International community might support accountability for atrocity crimes in Sri Lanka in the context of minimal domestic political will. With national criminal proceedings in Syria being unlikely in the near future, and after Russia and China had repeatedly blocked a Security Council referral to the ICC, the UN General Assembly established the IIIM for Syria.

Tamil Diaspora Organisations Call for Accelerated Implementation of the UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka and a Parallel International Criminal Tribunal

GENEVA, March 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Australian Tamil Congress (ATC), the British Tamils Forum (BTF), the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), the Irish Tamils Forum (ITF), the New Zealand Tamil Society (NZTS), and the US Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) acknowledge the passing of the resolution 'Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka' (40/1) at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and thank the Council members who worked towards it.

Sri Lanka: New UN Human Rights Council resolution must be followed with clear timeline for action -  Freedom from Torture

23 March 2019 - "New UN Human Rights Council resolution must be followed with clear timeline for action," Freedom from Torture said after the UNHRC's new resolution on Sri Lanka. 

Sri Lanka: New HRC resolution must lead to faster progress: Gov should work with the OHCHR to develop a time-bound strategy - Amnesty International

22 March 2019 -The adoption of the draft UN Human Rights Council Resolution 40/L.1 is an important step in the pursuit of justice for the victims of alleged international crimes during Sri Lanka’s decades-long internal conflict. It is disappointing, however, that the final text of the resolution failed to address Sri Lanka’s failure to meet its commitments to date.

UNHRC Resolution Passed Without A Vote: UK Encourages Sri Lanka to Accelerate for Full Implementation With a Time-bound Plan - Sri Lanka Says the  Extension of 2 Years A Mark of Recognition

Geneva, 21 March 2019 - "The resolution encourages Sri Lanka to accelerate its efforts to achieve full implementation of its 2015 undertakings and to set out a time-bound implementation plan to help it to make progress.

Only possibility for the Tamil victims to seek criminal justice is by refering Sri Lanka to the ICC or by setting up an ad hoc international criminal tribunal - Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) Leader

Geneva, 20 March 2019 -  "When Sri Lanka's most top leaders so consistently rejected criminal accountability, it is amply clear that the UNHRC is not going to deliver on the core demand of Tamil victims. Would the High Commissioner agree, at least now that it is ten years since the end of the war, that the only possibility for the Tamil victims to seek criminal justice is by refering Sri Lanka to the ICC or by setting up an ad hoc international criminal tribuna," Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) Leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said yesterday at the Interactive dialogue on the OHCHR rep

Waiting in Vain: Amnesty, HRW, ICJ, Asian Forum, IMADR and LRWC Call for Justice for Victims in Sri Lanka

Geneva, 20 March 2019 - Amnesty International, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists, International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) and Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada - Oral Statements today at the Interactive dialogue on the OHCHR report on Sri Lanka, at the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

La Suisse déplore l’absence totale en Sri Lanka de mesures de sensibilisation expliquant à la population le lien entre traitement du passé, paix durable et prospérité économique

Geneva, 20 March 2019 - "La Suisse salue l’ouverture du bureau pour la recherche des personnes disparues et l’adoption d’une loi instituant un mécanisme de réparations. Elle reste toutefois préoccupée par des retards dans la mise en œuvre des mesures de réconciliation et déplore l’absence totale de mesures de sensibilisation expliquant à la population le lien entre traitement du passé, paix durable et prospérité économique.

Ireland appreciates Sri Lanka Gov efforts, Much remains to be done

Geneva, 20 March 2019 - "Ireland is pleased to note the steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to implement Resolutions 30/1 and 34/1. We appreciate that the Government has continued to engage constructively with UN human rights mechanisms in the period under review. Although progress has been made, much remains to be done.

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