The United Kingdom and the United States have urged Sri Lanka to repeal the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and decriminalize same-sex conduct.
The UK and US representatives made this appeal at the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group when Sri Lanka’s human rights record were examined for the fourth time today (Feb. 01).
Sri Lanka is one of the countries reviewed by the UPR Working Group during its 42nd session in Geneva.
Sri Lanka’s first, second and third UPR reviews took place in May 2008, October 2012 and November 2017, respectively.
The 4th Cycle of the UPR commenced in November 2022 and Sri Lanka’s 4th UPR was taken up for consideration today. Argentina, Benin, Czechia, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Japan, Paksitan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Switzerland and Zambia are among the countries reviewed from January 23 to February 03, under the UPR’s 4th cycle at the ongoing session.
Sri Lanka’s National Report under the 4th Cycle of the UPR was submitted on 22 December 2022 and provides a self-assessment on the steps taken since the last UPR in November 2017, to fulfill our voluntarily undertaken human rights obligations.
The process of preparation of the National Report was undertaken under the guidance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Broad consultations were held with stakeholders from government and non-governmental organizations as well as the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s National Report is available here.
This year’s Review is taking place in a hybrid format. Due to the 75th Anniversary of Independence Day celebrations falling during the same period, Sri Lanka’s delegation to the Review is led by Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Sabry by means of a pre-recorded video statement.
The in-person delegation, led by Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Himalee Arunatilaka, comprises senior officials from the Presidential Secretariat, the Attorney-General’s Department, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva.
The UPR was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) in 2006, as a State-driven voluntary peer-review process which provides the opportunity for each State to declare the steps taken at the national level to improve the human rights situation in that State and to fulfill their human rights obligations.
At the UPR, all 193 Member States of the UN are reviewed without any selectivity or discrimination. It is periodic and is repeated every four-and half years. Three sessions are held each year and 14 countries are reviewed in one session. As such, each Member State of the UN is reviewed every 4 years.
All UN member States, including Sri Lanka, have participated in 3 cycles of the UPR namely, in 2008 (first), 2012 (second) and 2017 (third).