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HRC 49: USA calls on Sri Lanka to cease its harassment of civil society, human rights defenders, and journalists

Interactive Dialogue with OHCHR on Sri Lanka
Statement As Delivered by Ambassador Michèle Taylor

Delegation of the United States of America
Human Rights Council – 49th Session

March 7, 2022

Thank you, Madame High Commissioner.

The United States welcomes Sri Lanka’s effort to amend the Prevention of Terrorism Act and its recent release of more than 40 individuals, many of whom were held for years without charge. We welcome the move of the NGO Secretariat out of the Ministry of Defense, and initial steps to engage with some civil society representatives.

We hope to see continued progress. We urge the government to take further steps to bring PTA reforms into alignment with international human rights law and encourage them to ensure all Sri Lankans have access to justice and can exercise freedom of expression.

  • We call on the government to cease its harassment of civil society, human rights defenders, and journalists.
  • To foster reconciliation, the Office on Missing Persons and the Office for Reparations should operate effectively, independently, transparently, and in a victim-centric manner.
  • We also call on the government to engage with Tamil and Muslim parties and civil society organizations to advance an inclusive lasting political solution.

Question: What actions can we take this year to advance human rights, including religious freedom, justice, accountability, and reconciliation?

Thank you.

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