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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Sri Lanka resolution in full as adopted by the HRC 46 with 22 votes

The UNHRC resolution “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka” was adopted today with 22 votes. 11 Member states opposed the resolution while 14 abstained. India, Nepal, Indonesia and Japan were among the abstained countries.

A number of Islamic countries/Muslim majority too abstained. They were Bahrain, Cameroon, Senegal, Sudan, Libia, and BukinaFuso.

Sponsored by Albania,* Australia,* Austria, Belgium,* Bulgaria, Canada,* Croatia,* Cyprus,* Czechia, Denmark, Estonia,* Finland,* France, Germany, Greece,* Iceland,* Ireland,* Italy, Latvia,* Liechtenstein,* Lithuania,* Luxembourg,* Malawi, Malta,* Marshall
Islands, Montenegro,* Netherlands, New Zealand,* North Macedonia,* Norway,*
Poland, Portugal,* Romania,* San Marino,* Slovakia,* Slovenia,* Spain,* Sweden,*
Switzerland,* United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United
States of America*:

Resolution 46/… Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri
Lanka
The Human Rights Council,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
reaffirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and recalling the International
Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant instruments,

Recalling Human Rights Council resolutions 19/2 of 22 March 2012, 22/1 of 21
March 2013, 25/1 of 27 March 2014, 30/1 of 1 October 2015, 34/1 of 23 March 2017 and
40/1 of 21 March 2019 on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri
Lanka,

Recalling also that, in its resolution S-11/1 of 27 May 2009, the Human Rights
Council welcomed the resolve of Sri Lanka to begin a broader dialogue with all parties in
order to seek a political settlement and to bring about lasting peace and development in Sri
Lanka based on consensus among and respect for the rights of those from all ethnic and
religious groups, and endorsed the joint communiqué of 26 May 2009 of the President of Sri Lanka and the Secretary-General, in which the Secretary-General, inter alia, underlined the importance of an accountability process for addressing violations of international
humanitarian law and human rights law,Reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka,

Reaffirming also that it is the primary responsibility of each State to respect human
rights and to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of its
entire population,

Acknowledging the holding of free and transparent democratic elections in November
2019 and August 2020, Noting the enactment of the twentieth amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka, while stressing the importance of democratic governance and independent oversight of key institutions,

Calling upon the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfil its commitments on the devolution
of political authority, which is integral to reconciliation and the full enjoyment of human
rights by all members of its population, and encouraging the Government to respect local
governance, including through the holding of elections for provincial councils, and to ensure
that all provincial councils, including the northern and eastern provincial councils, are able
to operate effectively, in accordance with the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka,

Reaffirming that all individuals in Sri Lanka are entitled to the full enjoyment of their
human rights without distinction of any kind such as religion, belief or ethnic origin, and the
importance of a peaceful and unified land to the enjoyment of human rights,

Acknowledging the progress made by the Government of Sri Lanka in rebuilding
infrastructure, demining, land return, resettling internally displaced persons and improving
livelihoods, and encouraging further efforts in these areas,

Welcoming the continued commitment of the Government of Sri Lanka to remain
engaged with and to seek the assistance of the United Nations and its agencies, including
human rights mandates and mechanisms, in capacity-building and technical assistance, and
to achieve sustainable peace,

Reaffirming its unequivocal condemnation of all acts, methods and practices of
terrorism, including those committed in Sri Lanka in April 2019 that led to a large number
of injuries and deaths, and reaffirming also that all measures taken to combat terrorism must fully comply with States’ obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, and, as applicable, international refugee law and international humanitarian law,

Emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive approach to dealing with the past,
incorporating judicial and non-judicial measures, to ensure accountability, to serve justice, to provide remedies to victims, to avoid the recurrence of violations of human rights and to
promote healing and reconciliation,

Recognizing that mechanisms to redress past abuses and violations work best when
they are independent, impartial and transparent, and use consultative and participatory
methods that include the views of all relevant stakeholders, including, but not limited to,
victims, women, youth, representatives of various religions, ethnicities and geographic
locations, as well as people from marginalized groups,

Recalling the responsibility of States to comply with their relevant obligations under
human rights law and international humanitarian law, including, where applicable, to
prosecute those responsible for gross violations of human rights law or serious violations of
international humanitarian law,

Noting with appreciation the work of the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights towards the promotion and protection of human rights and
truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka,

1. Welcomes the oral update presented by the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council at its forty-third session and the report of
Office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights presented to the Council
at its forty-sixth session;1

2. Also welcomes the engagement of the Government of Sri Lanka with the Office
of the High Commissioner and the special procedures of the Human Rights Council, urges
the continuation of such engagement and dialogue, and calls upon Sri Lanka to implement
the recommendations made by the Office and to give due consideration to the
recommendations made by the special procedures;

3. Acknowledges the progress made by the Office on Missing Persons and the
Office for Reparations, and stresses the importance of maintaining support for these
institutions, safeguarding their independent and effective functioning, providing both offices
with sufficient resources and technical means to effectively fulfil their mandates, allowing
them to proceed with interim relief measures for affected vulnerable families, with a gender
focus, and resolving the many cases of enforced disappearances so that the families of
disappeared persons can know their fate and whereabouts;

4. Stresses the importance of a comprehensive accountability process for all
violations and abuses of human rights committed in Sri Lanka by all parties, including those
abuses by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, as highlighted in the comprehensive report
of the Office of the High Commissioner on Sri Lanka;

5. Notes the persistent lack of accountability of domestic mechanisms, that the
domestic commission of inquiry announced on 22 January 2021 lacks independence and that its mandate is to review reports of previous commissions and committees, and does not include a mandate to pursue accountability for past gross violations of human rights or for serious violations of international humanitarian law;

6. Recognizes the importance of preserving and analysing evidence relating to
violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes in Sri Lanka with a view to
advancing accountability, and decides to strengthen in this regard the capacity of the Office
of the High Commissioner to collect, consolidate, analyse and preserve information and
evidence and to develop possible strategies for future accountability processes for gross
violations of human rights or serious violations of international humanitarian law in Sri
Lanka, to advocate for victims and survivors, and to support relevant judicial and other
proceedings, including in Member States, with competent jurisdiction;

7. Expresses serious concern at the trends emerging over the past year, which
represent a clear early warning sign of a deteriorating situation of human rights in Sri Lanka, including the accelerating militarization of civilian government functions; the erosion of the independence of the judiciary and key institutions responsible for the promotion and
protection of human rights; ongoing impunity and political obstruction of accountability for
crimes and human rights violations in “emblematic cases”; policies that adversely affect the
right to freedom of religion or belief; increased marginalization of persons belonging to the
Tamil and Muslim communities; surveillance and intimidation of civil society; restrictions
on media freedom, and shrinking democratic space; restrictions on public memorialization
of victims of war, including the destruction of a memorial; arbitrary detentions; alleged
torture and other cruel, inhuman degrading treatment or punishment, and sexual and genderbased violence; and that these trends threaten to reverse the limited but important gains made in recent years, and risk the recurrence of policies and practices that gave rise to the grave violations of the past;

8. Expresses further concern that the response to the coronavirus disease
(COVID-19) pandemic has had an impact on freedom of religion or belief and exacerbated
the prevailing marginalization of and discrimination against the Muslim community, and that cremations for those deceased from COVID-19 have prevented Muslims and members of other religions from practicing their own burial religious rites, and has disproportionately
affected religious minorities and exacerbated distress and tensions;

9. Calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure the prompt, thorough and
impartial investigation and, if warranted, prosecution of all alleged crimes relating to human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law, including for longstanding emblematic cases;

10. Also calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure the effective and
independent functioning of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the Office on
Missing Persons and the Office for Reparations to deliver on their respective mandates as
established;

11. Further calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to protect civil society actors,
including human rights defenders, to investigate any attacks and to ensure a safe and enabling environment in which civil society can operate free from hindrance, surveillance, insecurity and threat of reprisals;

12. Requests the Government of Sri Lanka to review the Prevention of Terrorism
Act, and to ensure that any legislation on combating terrorism complies fully with the State’s international human rights and humanitarian law obligations;

13. Urges the Government of Sri Lanka to foster freedom of religion or belief and
pluralism by promoting the ability of all religious communities to manifest their religion, and to contribute openly and on an equal footing to society;

14. Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to continue to cooperate with the
special procedures of the Human Rights Council, including by responding formally to
outstanding requests from them;

15. Encourages the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant special
procedure mandate holders to provide, in consultation with and with the concurrence of the
Government of Sri Lanka, advice and technical assistance on implementing the abovementioned steps;

16. Requests the Office of the High Commissioner to enhance its monitoring and
reporting on the situation of human rights in Sri Lanka, including on progress in
reconciliation and accountability, and to present an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its forty-eighth session, and a written update at its forty-ninth session and a comprehensive report that includes further options for advancing accountability at its fifty-first session, both to be discussed in the context of interactive dialogue.

Statement of programme budget implications arising from draft resolution A/HRC/46/L.1/Rev.1 of the Human Rights
Council Oral statement – PDF

 

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