Sri Lanka Brief
NewsUN-Sri Lankafindings and recommendations UNSG panel report on sri Lanka must be brought to the agenda of this Council – Forum Asia

findings and recommendations UNSG panel report on sri Lanka must be brought to the agenda of this Council – Forum Asia

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 ”FORUM-ASIA stresses that this Council must continue its demonstrated leadership in seeking
accountability for the allegations of gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian
law.”

Thank you, Madam President. FORUM-ASIA appreciates the sustained emphasis by the High
Commissioner on ending impunity and ensuring accountability. As the High Commissioner noted, it
is our lesson that the counter-terrorism measures undertaken by many States have too often led to
the erosion of human rights and vicious cycles of violence and retribution. In this light, we continue
to express our serious concern at the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in Sri Lanka, which confers
extraordinary powers to the military, police and the executive while drastically curtailing civil liberties
and judicial protection of human rights. Rather than repealing this draconian law or bringing it in line
with international standards, the latest efforts by the government in introducing new regulations under
the PTA simply overshadow Sri Lanka’s notable declaration on the lifting of Emergency Regulations.
Further, FORUM-ASIA stresses that this Council must continue its demonstrated leadership in seeking
accountability for the allegations of gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian
law. To this end, the findings and recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General’s
Panel of Experts on accountability issues in Sri Lanka must be brought to the agenda of this Council for its
debate and action. The existence of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission cannot be used
as a way to block any space for the Council’s action to develop diverse means and tools, including an
independent international mechanism, to enhance the work for establishing the facts as well as bringing
justice and redress for the victims of the conflicts.

Madam High Commissioner, FORUM-ASIA looks forward to your next visit to the Asian region where
we strongly hope the work of your Office will be further encouraged for strengthening and developing
regional human rights arrangements. A drafting committee appointed by the ASEAN member States
recently began its work to develop an ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD), as outlined in the Terms
of Reference of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). It is to our regret
that the drafting of the AHRD is following a closed process without consultation and participation of civil
society and national human rights institutions in the region. Thus, we urge the AICHR to ensure regular,
transparent, inclusive and substantive dialogue with its national constituencies. The High Commissioner
should offer her expertise to guide this AHRD to be in line with the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and built upon the obligations of ASEAN member States under international human rights law.2
In addition, FORUM-ASIA sincerely hopes that the High Commissioner will call upon the member States
of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to take concrete efforts in entrenching
human rights in its agenda. The upcoming 17th SAARC Summit to be held in the Maldives in November
under the theme of “Building Bridges” should be more than an exercise in diplomacy. Rather, it should
be viewed as an opportunity to collectively address pressing challenges of human rights in the region and
explore a sub-regional human rights mechanism.3 Thank you, Madam President.

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