The British Government today noted that Sri Lanka did very little to address human rights concerns, five years after the war.
The UK Ambassador to Geneva Julian Braithwaite said in a few months’ time it will be the tenth anniversary of the end of the protracted armed conflict in Sri Lanka, a conflict in which many thousands of people died.
“This was a period in which serious human rights violations and abuses are reported to have been committed by both parties and in which people from all of Sri Lanka’s communities had to endure terrible suffering. For many of the victims, especially the families of the missing and the disappeared, their suffering continues to endure,” he said.
He was speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on behalf of the Core Group on Sri Lanka comprising Canada, Germany, Montenegro, North Macedonia and the United Kingdom.
The UK introduced to the Council draft Resolution L1 entitled “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka”.
“In the 5 years following the end of the armed conflict Sri Lanka chose not to take many measures that would have helped to advance reconciliation, accountability and human rights. It remains to Sri Lanka’s great credit that in 2015 it committed, in front of the international community, to take a set of steps towards these ends that are in its national interest and in the interest of every community in the country,” the Ambassador said.
He said that draft Resolution L1. seeks to continue the process which Sri Lanka began at the Human Rights Council in September 2015 when it worked in partnership to set out a range of measures that it would take to advance peace, justice and reconciliation.
He also noted that the Resolution acknowledges some very real achievements against these commitments over the last two years.
“It also recognises that in a number of important areas, implementation remains work in progress. 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. It requests OHCHR to continue to strengthen its engagement with Sri Lanka and requests annual reporting by the Office of the High Commissioner for a further two years,” he said.
The UK envoy said that the main sponsors of the Resolution warmly welcome Sri Lanka’s co-sponsorship of the draft Resolution and its public affirmation that it remains determined to deliver on the commitments it has already made to the UNHRC.
He also said that as partners and friends of Sri Lanka, they stand ready to support Sri Lanka as it does so.