June 28, 2016 (LBO) – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has commended steps that the Government of Sri Lanka has taken to implement some of the key commitments made in the Sri Lanka sponsored US resolution, even though rapid action could have been taken in other areas.
Issuing a special report to the 32nd session of the Human Rights Council, the UN High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein says consultations and preparations are now underway to further elaborate and design the transitional justice mechanisms.
The restoration of the Constitutional Council, an independent Human Rights Commission and the ratification of the Disappearances Convention are important achievements that will leave a legacy for the future, the UN High Commissioner said.
“More rapid and sustained progress could have been made on other issues,” the report said.
“Such as the release of land and detainees and the revision of the PTA and witness protection laws, which would build confidence with the minority community.”
The High Commissioner however urges the Government to take concrete steps to address the impatience, anxiety and reservations towards the process that stem from various quarters, and reiterates the importance for all Sri Lankans to rally behind the process.
“Continuing allegations of arbitrary arrest, torture and sexual violence, as well as more general military surveillance and harassment, must be swiftly addressed,” the report said.
“The structures and institutional culture that promoted those practices be dismantled, to show there will be no tolerance for practices of the past.”
The UN High Commissioner further pointed out that the establishment of full transitional justice mechanisms will be needed to provide a comprehensive response to past human rights violations and ensure that they do not reccur.