The European Union (EU) has decided to back moves at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to actively support efforts to enhance accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, including a credible and independent investigation into the alleged severe crimes during the civil war, as well as to address the current human rights situation in the country.
The decision was taken by the EU Foreign Affairs Council which met in Brussels to discuss its stand on various issues expected to be discussed at the March session on the UNHRC.
“The EU is, and will remain, a vocal advocate of human rights, and lends its full support to the multilateral human rights system, which plays a critical role in the promotion and protection of universal human rights norms and standards and in the monitoring of compliance. This commitment, affirmed in the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan for Human Rights and Democracy, guides EU action in this area,” the EU Foreign Affairs Council said.
It said that through close cooperation with all countries, institutions and stakeholders, the EU will be an active and determined participant in the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly sessions of 2014. The EU says it is committed to working at the UN to promote and protect the universality of human rights, to prevent and respond to serious human rights violations, and to express its concerns and positions, contributing to debates and pursuing thematic and country-specific initiatives.
The EU Foreign Affairs Council said the EU will also continue to promote full cooperation with and support to the UN Human Rights Council Special Procedures, upholding the independence of the mandate holders and supporting their free and unhindered contact and cooperation with individuals and civil society. The EU also reaffirms its commitment to the Universal Period Review and calls upon all countries to effectively cooperate with this mechanism.
“The EU reaffirms its unwavering support for the UN Human Rights Treaty Body system. Maintaining their independence remains a key objective for the EU, and the EU will seek to improve their capacity to fulfil their mandate effectively and efficiently, while ensuring their independence. The EU will encourage steps by all stakeholders in this regard,” the EU Foreign Affairs Council said. (Colombo Gazette)