EU welcomes Sri Lanka for advancing human rights agenda
March 24, 2017 10:45 am
The European Union (EU) has welcomed the UN High Commissioner’s report on Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Government’s continued engagement with the Council.
The EU, welcoming the Sri Lankan Government’s continued engagement with United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), said it fully acknowledges the progress made in Sri Lanka in terms of advancing the broader human rights agenda and restoring fundamental freedoms.
Delivering a statement to the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva during the Interactive Dialogue on the UN High Commissioner’s report on Sri Lanka on Wednesday, the European Union said Sri Lanka appears to be “turning a corner” on the promotion and protection of human rights.
Full Statement: We fully acknowledge progress made in Sri Lanka in terms of advancing the broader human rights agenda and restoring fundamental freedoms.
We welcome the undertaking by President Sirisena to introduce a new constitution that can provide a political settlement and encourage the Government to take full account of the recommendations made by the Consultation Task Force, including on the devolution of political authority, which is integral to reconciliation and the full enjoyment of human rights by all members of the population.
As the High Commissioner has rightly pointed out, Sri Lanka appears to be turning a corner on the promotion and protection of human rights, though a number of outstanding challenges remain, including concerted steps to end torture and sexual and gender based violence.
We further call on the Government to fulfil the commitments made on transitional justice, including through the creation of an accountability mechanism which is credible, victim-centric and supported by international practitioners.
In addition, we urge the Government to now replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act with counter-terrorism legislation that is consistent with international standards.
It is also crucial to continue steps towards building the confidence of and between all communities in the country and normalising life in the North and East, in particular by further accelerating the prosecution or release of detainees, downsizing the military presence to a proportionate level, and ceasing their involvement in civilian activities.
We further invite the Government to make publically available a transparent action plan with clear timelines for returning all remaining land to its rightful owners or paying appropriate compensation.
Sri Lanka has come a long way through the Human Rights Council. The EU confirms its readiness to continue to support the Government in the full implementation of the commitments made in the landmark resolution 30/1 adopted by consensus in October 2015 and recently reaffirmed in the draft resolution presented to this session, to which we lend our full support.