The UK in its statement delivered at the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council during the Sri Lanka Core Group expressed its concerns over the non-establishment of Sri Lanka’s national accountability mechanism based on the Resolution 30/1 and urged the Government to implement it before March 2019 when the Council meets next.
The Core Group also noted that they hope the GoSL will establish an Office for Reparations quickly. “We also welcome the return of further private land in the North, and commitments to return more military-occupied lands to civilian ownership.”
The Core Group’s statement was delivered on behalf of Germany, Macedonia, Montenegro and the UK as Members of the Sri Lanka Core Group and said that the accountability mechanism is essential to dealing with the past and to restore confidence among the communities. “These have yet to be established.”
The Core Group further stated that the Prevention of Terrorism Act has not been replaced with a law that accords with international standards. And, though processes to consider reform to important provisions of the Constitution, including the devolution of political authority, has been ongoing since 2016, a way forward has not been found, it noted. We are concerned by recent reports of harassment and attacks on human rights defenders, they added.
The statement further said, “We welcome further recent steps Sri Lanka has taken to implement commitments made to the Council in 2015 and 2017. We welcome the Government’s continued engagement……with the UN system and actions to implement its National Reconciliation Action Plan and Peacebuilding Priority Plan.
We applaud the Office on Missing Persons’ commencement of work and encourage everyone able to advance or contribute to its work to do so. Nonetheless, the pace of progress on important areas remains much slower than many hoped for. As time passes, lack of progress in delivering key steps risks undermining reconciliation efforts.”
Our view remains that, with determined leadership and a clear time-bound action plan, this Government can make more progress towards delivering its Council commitments, and that doing so will better position Sri Lanka and its people to enjoy a more enduring reconciliation and prosperity.
“We urge Sri Lanka to prioritize and drive forward implementation of Resolutions 30/1 and 34/1, before the Council next considers Sri Lanka in March,” the Group noted.