Deliver justice for victims
Promote reconciliation between communities
GENEVA (5 February 2021) – UN human rights experts* have urged the Sri Lankan authorities to stop rolling back hard fought progress made in recent years on rebuilding democratic institutions, and to press for accountability for past crimes and deliver justice for victims and promote reconciliation between communities.
The independent experts published today an assessment of the government’s follow up to some 400 recommendations made following 10 official visits from 2015 to 2019. They called on the Human Rights Council to continue its efforts to increase independent human rights monitoring in the country and to ensure accountability for past crimes.
“We are dismayed at the emerging trends setting back the promotion of reconciliation, accountability and human rights, reducing civic space and eroding important institutional safeguards for the protection of human rights, issues also raised in the High Commissioner’s report,” they said, pointing to the government’s increasingly majoritarian rhetoric threatening victims and minority communities.
“The Easter Sunday terrorist attack in April 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic has put an enormous strain on the country – yet the national security centred response to these crises and the accelerated trend towards militarization of civilian public functions, including through the appointment of active and former military personnel allegedly implicated in war crimes, is alarming,” the experts said.
Such responses together with the recently approved 20th amendment to the Constitution which removes important institutional checks and balances, have threatened the integrity of Sri Lanka’s institutions and the judiciary, eroding safeguards that are essential for democracy and the rule of law, they said.