UN rights chief urges UNHRC to give renewed attention to Sri Lanka

Michelle Bachelet

The United Nations human rights chief said on Monday that she is troubled that the new Government of Sri Lanka is “swiftly reneging on its commitments” to the Human Rights Council since it withdrew its support for resolution 30/1.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also warned that the proposed 20th amendment to the Constitution may negatively impact on the independence of key institutions, including the National Human Rights Commission.

The comments from Michelle Bachelet came in her global human rights update during the 45th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, during which she encouraged the Council to give renewed attention to Sri Lanka.

“The pardon given in March to a former Army sergeant convicted of participating in unlawful killings; appointments to key civilian roles of senior military officials allegedly involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity; and moves within the police and judiciary to thwart the investigation of such crimes, set a very negative trend.”

“The surveillance and intimidation of victims, their families, human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers should cease immediately,” she said.

“I encourage the Council to give renewed attention to Sri Lanka, in view of the need to prevent threats to peace, reconciliation and sustainable development.”

Excerpt of statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet:

“In Sri Lanka, I am troubled that the new Government is swiftly reneging on its commitments to the Human Rights Council since it withdrew its support for resolution 30/1. Among other developments, the proposed 20th amendment to the Constitution may negatively impact on the independence of key institutions, including the National Human Rights Commission. The pardon given in March to a former Army sergeant convicted of participating in unlawful killings; appointments to key civilian roles of senior military officials allegedly involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity; and moves within the police and judiciary to thwart the investigation of such crimes, set a very negative trend. The surveillance and intimidation of victims, their families, human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers should cease immediately. I encourage the Council to give renewed attention to Sri Lanka, in view of the need to prevent threats to peace, reconciliation and sustainable development.”

(Source: Ada Derana)

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