The U.N. human rights chief called on Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of the mandate-holders of the UN Human Rights Council, which include special rapporteurs, independent experts and working groups.
The 53rd session of the UN Human Rights Council convened on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland.
Under the agenda Item 2 of the Council the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk presented the Human Rights Global Update.
In his statement, the U.N. human rights chief stated that although the Sri Lankan government has regrettably rejected aspects of the UNHRC’s resolutions related to accountability, it has continued to engage with the rights body’s presence on the ground.
He said that Sri Lanka has received a dozen visits by mandate-holders in the past decade, and encouraged Sri Lankan authorities to implement their recommendations.
“In Sri Lanka, although the Government has regrettably rejected aspects of the Council’s resolutions related to accountability, it has continued to engage with our presence on the ground. Sri Lanka has received a dozen visits by mandate-holders in the past decade, and I encourage the authorities to implement their recommendations,” he said.
Volker Turk, who took over as high commissioner in late 2022, used his opening speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday to urge greater cooperation and singled out states such as Syria, Iran, Israel and Russia that should do more.
“We would now like to scale up engagement,” he told the Geneva council at the opening of its four-week session, saying the world was at a “critical juncture” 75 years after adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“I also believe that it is important for us to establish a presence for the first time in China and India – two countries which together comprise more than one-third of the world’s population.”
More broadly, Turk had voiced concern about a “strangulation of civil society in several countries”, without naming them.
Turk said he would like to double his office’s budget to step up global monitoring although this may prove challenging given that many countries oppose further scrutiny on sovereignty grounds.
Turk also called on the United States to act urgently on racial discrimination and to ratify six human rights treaties, including one on child rights.
With agencies inputs