Amnesty International welcomes that the High Commissioner drew this Council’s attention to the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. We also welcome that the Government of Sri Lanka has again come to Geneva to discuss its serious human rights problems.
We believe this Council should use this session to initiate a more structured discussion in the Council about Sri Lanka’s human rights situation and to establish a process to assess Sri Lanka’s progress in the protection of human rights.
Over the past two years, Amnesty International has documented that the end of armed conflict has not ended human rights violations in Sri Lanka. Ongoing violations are perpetuated by a climate of impunity which shields those responsible, including superiors in positions of power and authority, from justice.
Moreover, Sri Lanka has not fulfilled commitments it made during its Universal Periodic Review in 2008, including promises to take all necessary measures to prosecute and punish perpetrators of a variety of violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law.
Amnesty International welcomes the decision of the UN Secretary General to transmit to this Council the Panel of Expert’s report highlighting the credible allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity by all sides to the conflict of Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan government presents the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission as a response to the Panel report and a step towards ensuring reconciliation. Amnesty International’s analysis of the LLRC (web ref) demonstrates that is not a genuine accountability mechanism. Its mandate makes it clear it was not intended to be one.
This Council should start to engage the Sri Lankan government now in a structured discussion aimed at evaluating the outcome of the LLRC’s report in light of the Panel report at the Council’s March 2012 session.
As matters stand now, the Council must envisage the creation of an independent international accountability mechanism to aid the Sri Lankan government in providing the truth and justice necessary for a genuine, sustainable reconciliation process.
Thank you Madam President.
UN Human Rights Council, Eighteenth Session, 12 – 30 September 2011
Item 2,General Debate