UK urges UNHRC to press for progress on justice, reconciliation & accountability in SL

UK urges UNHRC to press for progress on justice, reconciliation & accountability in SL

February 26, 2021   05:37 pm

The United Kingdom has urged the UN Human Rights Council to press for progress on justice, reconciliation and accountability and improved respect for human rights in Sri Lanka.

Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, UK’s Minister for the UN and Human Rights made this remark during the Interactive Dialogue on the Human Rights High Commissioner’s presentation of Sri Lanka yesterday (February 25).

He said the UK welcomes the UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet’s “detailed and most comprehensive” report on Sri Lanka.

“We share the concerns regarding the reversal of progress on issues of accountability, and also the current human rights situation, and the risk and recurrence of past violations.”

He said UK is concerned over the “increase in surveillance and indeed harassment of civil society actors, the militarisation of these civilian governmental functions, and the impact of the government’s forced cremation policy on different communities in Sri Lanka, particularly the Muslim community, who continue to face persecution.”

UK also regrets the Sri Lanka government’s decision to withdraw support for resolution 30/1, Lord Ahmad noted adding that previous domestic initiatives have all failed regrettably to deliver meaningful accountability.

He observed that the appointment of senior military officials who were allegedly implicated in war crimes and crimes against humanity also calls into question Sri Lanka’s commitment to accountability and justice.

Thereby, Lord Ahmad stressed that the Human Rights Council must continue to consider the situation in Sri Lanka and press for progress on justice, reconciliation and accountability, and improved respect for human rights.

Enhanced monitoring by the Office of the High Commissioner is critical to support this, he added.

Lord Ahmad further remarked: “Together with our Core Group partners, we will present a new resolution to continue the Council’s engagement on these important issues, and have indicated our desire to work with the Government of Sri Lanka in support of accountability and lasting reconciliation for all communities.”

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