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International News

Feb 27, 2020

UNHRC expresses regret over Sri Lankan govt’s decision to withdraw from resolution

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has expressed regret over Sri Lankan government’s decision to withdraw from co-sponsorship of resolution with regard to ‘promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in the country. 

Delivering oral on Sri Lanka at the 43rd session of UNHRC in Geneva today, UNHRC commissioner Michelle Bachelet said that this move risks setting back efforts to advance reconciliation and human rights.

The commissioner further said that she is troubled by the country’s recent trend towards moving civilian functions under the ministry of defence and retired military officers. She also mentioned that the increasing levels of hate speech and security and police measures appear to be discriminatingly and disproportionately directed against minorities.

Claiming that Sri Lanka’s domestic processes have consistently failed to deliver accountability in the past, Bachelet said that she is not convinced the appointment of yet another commission of inquiry guarantee that past patterns of human rights violations do not reoccur. Calling upon the government to preserve and buildup on the gains made over last few years, she urged the council to remain in terms of prevention and to explore all possible avenues for advancing accountability.

Sri Lankan foreign minister Dinesh Gunawardena, responding to commissioner statement said those who have expressed disappointment on Sri Lanka’s decision are privileging a superficial facade which has failed to deliver for four and half years.

He expressed  hope that the council would appreciate the approach of focusing on deliverable measures of reconciliation, instead of the practice of taking on a host of undeliverable commitments with the intention of never implementing them. The developments came as Sri Lankan government yesterday told the council its decision to withdraw from resolution, which was co-sponsored by previous government in 2015 in a bid to address war crimes and human rights issues.

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