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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Sri Lanka and UNHRC – Accountability issues, UNSG’s panel of experts report and LLRC report

18th session of UN HRC- General Debate Item 4
On Sri Lanka –  Accountability issues, UNSG’s panel of experts report and LLRC report
Comments made by countries and INGOs requesting an interactive dialogue at UN HRC  and independent investigation re accountability issues.

MEMBER countries of the HRC
Belgium welcomes the transmission of UNSG’ report of the panel of experts on Sri Lanka.  Belgium expects that the finding and conclusions of the LLRC will be submitted to the UN HRC at the 19th session. .  Belgium encourages Sri |Lanka to engage with UN HRC.  
France support the statement made by the EU…Finally on Sri Lanka France welcomes the transmission of UNSGs report of the panel of experts to the HRC. Its conclusions and recommendations cannot be ignored. France encourages Sri Lankan authorities to implement them without delay.
Norway would like to express recognition to Sri Lanka for positive developments in the country since the end of the war in 2009. There is now historic opportunity for a sustainable peace in Sri Lanka. We call on the government of Sri Lanka to take the bold steps necessary to bring about political solution and reconciliation. the expected report from the Lessons Learned and reconciliation commission will serious follow up by the government of Sri Lanka. We urge Sri Lanka to carry out a credible and independent investigation of alleged atrocities in accordance with the recommendation of the UN advisory panel. A transparent and accountable investigation will contribute to the country’s healing and reconciliation process.
Poland (on behalf of EU)
EU is concerned by the credible allegations in the UNSG’s panel of experts and encourages the GOSL to swiftly engage with the Secretary General and Human Rights Council. EU also believes that GOSl will present the LLRC report finding to the HRC in an interactive manner at the earliest opportunity.
OBSERVER countries of the HRC
All of us aware of information made available since Human Rights Council’ special session in May 2009 n alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, including the UN secretary General’s expert panel report, which has now being reffered to the president of the Human Rights Council. It is our strong view that these allegations need to be carefully  assessed. We welcome the establishment of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt nd Reconciliation Commission. We look to effort to ensure that the commission’s report is timely, comprehensive, credible and in accordance with the international standards. Australia and other countries will be closely scrutinising the LLRC report in assessing what further options might be Pursued in the HRC. We also urge the government of Sri Lanka to move forward with its initiatives towards reconciliation and devolution.
Canada is deeply concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka and encourages the country to begin real progress in terms of political reconciliation, accountability and human rights. We support call for an independent investigation in to credible allegations of violations of International Humanitarian Law and human rights law committed by both parties to the conflict in Sri Lanka as recommended by UN Secretary General’s panel of experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka.
With regard to Sri Lanka Denmark remains concerned about the credible allegations put forward in the Panel of Experts report that serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law have been committed by both sides to the conflict. Denmark strongly encourages Sri Lanka’s active and constructive engagement with the UN Secretary general and Human rights council to address such violations in a credible and independent manner.  
Germany welcomes that Secretary General of United Nations has transmitted the report of the Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka to the president of the Human Rights council. We encourage the government of Sri Lanka to swiftly engage with the Scretary General and the HRC on the contents of the report and to ensure a credible independent investigation and accountability process. We strongly hope that Sri Lanka will size the opportunity of the upcoming finalisation of the report of the LLRC    commission to engage with the HRC.
In Sri Lanka Ireland is deeply concerned by the credible allegations found by the UNSG panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka, that major violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by all sides during the conflict years. Ireland urge the GOSL to engage with the HRC in open, constructive manner as an important step in the part towards a genuine process of reconciliation
Considering the establishment of truth and accountability as an irreplaceable element on the part toward sustainable peace and national reconciliation Slovakia  encourages the GOSL to support actively a convocation of an interactive dialogue following the conclusions of the panel of experts established by the UNSG at the next HRC session which might serve at the same tine as an opportunity tp present finding of the natioanl Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission
Concerning Sri Lanka Sweden welcomes the Report of the UNSG panel of Experts on Accountability and supports its recommendations including need for futher independent investigation
Untied Kingdom
On Sri Lanka the transmission of the UN panel of Experts report to the HRC underlines the need for accountability for alleged violations of international law. We look forward to these being addressed  by the LLRC and discussion the outcome with Sri Lanka including during the March session.
Forum Asia:
FORUM-ASIA draws the Council’s attention to a host of emerging challenges facing the resettled population in the former conflict areas in Sri Lanka, many of whom still live in temporary shelters and encounter serious barriers in claiming their rights to housing, land and property restitution. Furthermore, we are disturbed to learn of the forcible acquisition of land by the Sri Lankan military for the construction of new military bases, as well as by opportunistic local politicians and foreign investors for the development of tourist resorts and Special Economic Zones such as in Mannar, Puttalam and Trincomalee districts.[ The government of Sri Lanka must guarantee full involvement of the local population in any development planning and implementation process, based on the principles of free, prior and informed consent to ensure that they are the core beneficiaries. The international community must also pay due diligence to assure that any development projects by public or private foreign entities shall be undertaken with provisions for adequate reparation to the affected communities.

Lastly, FORUM-ASIA recalls its joint NGO letter addressed to you last Friday calling for formal space at the 19th regular session for a dialogue and debate on the accountability process in Sri Lanka, including the findings of the LLRC. We are extremely disappointed that no such proposal has been tabled. We urge the Sri Lankan government to stop any disinformation campaign through its State media with regards to its 12 September side event and to work with the Council in a constructive and non-politicized manner that places justice and redress for victims at the centre.

Human Rights Watch:
Given Sri Lanka’s dismissive approach, the Council should ensure international oversight of Sri Lanka’s domestic accountability efforts. Instead of investigating alleged violations, the Sri Lankan government has been conducting an aggressive public relations offensive against the Panel of Experts, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and others who call for accountability, summarily dismissing all allegations as fake or LTTE propaganda
Madame President, in closing let me address another issue. At this session, Sri Lankan officials have touted the decision not to renew the emergency regulations as important progress toward normalization. Emergency regulations lifted in Sri Lanka, however, do not affect existing laws that allow the government to detain people for long periods without trial.
Many of the powers in the emergency regulations can also be found in the existing Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Just like the emergency regulations, the PTA allows for arrests for vaguely defined “unlawful activities” without warrant and permits detention for 18 months or longer without charges being brought against the detainee. The act also provides immunity from prosecution for government officials who may commit wrongful acts under the legislation if an official acted “in good faith,” or in “pursuance of any order made or direction given under this Act.” The Sri Lankan president has also continued to grant search and arrest powers to the country’s armed forces since emergency regulations lapsed.
Read full statement is here
Thousands of victims and families are waiting for justice and reparation. How long are we going to keep them waiting? As a member state of the UN, the Government of Sri Lanka is obliged to share with the community of Nations the modalities related to the implementation of pledges given on many occasions – all still not fulfilled. The issues at stake relates to the lives of hundreds and thousands of people, as well as to accountability and compliance to international standards. It is regrettable to note the attitude of some governments who resort to almost ridiculing the HRC and the affected by urging us to believe that side events are modalities to reckon with and calling on the international community to discuss serious issues at a tea party hosted by violators of human rights themselves. Therefore, we demand at least an interactive dialogue at the HRC’s 19th session.
After the side event held by Government of Sri Lanka during this current session of the Council, a well-known journalist and human rights defender from Sri Lanka and the former leader of the Free Media Movement, Mr Sunanda Deshapriya, has come under continuous attack in all state-controlled media – print and electronic – in Sri Lanka with false accusations quoting a statement purported to have been made by the President of the Maldives. This false reporting has led to a major media campaign against Mr Sunanda Deshapriya and his close associates still residing in Sri Lanka. We call for urgent attention of the HRC on this matter and call for an immediate stop to such misleading reporting.
Finally, we request an immediate response to the letter forwarded to the President of this Council signed by 20 NGOs to acknowledge the receipt of the Panel Report before the conclusion of the 18th session and to share the modalities to be adopted for its discussion. We support the recommendation of the panel report to establish an international and independent investigation for alleged war crimes and grave violations of human rights. We continue our call for the appointment of a Country Rapporteur on Sri Lanka to assist the Government of Sri Lanka to respond to the post-war challenges to improve human rights and to re-establish the respect for rule of law and the independence of judiciary.
International Educational Development:
International Educational development draws to the attention of the council a statement made by the Tamil national alliance that denies the claim of the government of Sri Lanka that is building trust and amity between the Tamil and Sinhala communities in Sri Lanka. In fact no one of the modest recommendations proposed by the TNA has been addressed….
We are incensed that the government attacks the messengers such as Secretary General the current High Commissioner and past High Commissioners. .. bulling he messenger and lying about reality on ground will not resolve the ethnic conflict issues  in Sri Lanka. ..
In conclusion that the council and international community has totally failed the Tamil people in Sri Lanka we expect impartial review of all events of this war.
Compiled for SLB by MT/SD


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