The Sri Lanka Core Group has, in a draft resolution to be presented to the 51st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), called on the government of Sri Lanka to address the economic crisis current situation and to ensure that it does not happen again by investigating and prosecuting corruption, including by public officials and former public officials. He said he was ready to help and support independent, impartial and transparent efforts in this regard.
The Core Group is made up of the UK, USA, Germany, Canada, Malawi, North Macedonia and Montenegro. essential drugs and reduced household income. The group also stressed the need to promote and protect the rights of the most marginalized and disadvantaged people, including daily wage earners,
children, the elderly and people with disabilities. They also “express concern about other human rights developments since April 2022, including violence and arrests of peaceful protesters, as well as violence against government supporters, which has resulted in deaths, injuries, destruction and damage to the homes of Members of Parliament and stress the importance of independent investigations into all attacks and that those responsible are held accountable.
The Core Group also said it was concerned about the militarization of the functions of civilian government, the erosion of the independence of the judiciary and key institutions responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights; the lack of progress in addressing the longstanding grievances and demands of the Tamil and Muslim populations; surveillance, intimidation and harassment of journalists, human rights defenders, families of the disappeared and those involved in memorialization initiatives, and sexual and gender-based violence.
Below are excerpts from the draft: “Stresses the importance of a comprehensive process of accountability for all human rights violations and abuses committed in Sri Lanka by all parties, including abuses committed by the Tigers liberation of Tamil Eelam; (46/1OP4)
“Notes the continued lack of independence, impartiality and transparency of national mechanisms, and that emblematic human rights cases have been undermined by delays and the granting of presidential pardons to those accused or convicted crimes related to serious human rights violations; (New)
“Recognizes the importance of preserving and analyzing evidence relating to human rights violations and abuses and related crimes in Sri Lanka with a view to advancing accountability, and resolves to expand and strengthen OHCHR’s ability to collect, consolidate, analyze and preserve information and evidence and develop possible strategies for future accountability processes for gross human rights violations or serious violations of international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka, to defend victims and survivors and to support relevant legal and other proceedings, including in Member States, having jurisdiction; (46/1 OP6, slightly revised)
“Also expresses concern that the initial response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted freedom of religion or belief and has exacerbated marginalization and discrimination against the Muslim community, while acknowledging that cremations for those who have died from COVID-19 are no longer mandatory, urges Muslims and members of other religions to be able to continue practicing their own religious funeral rites; (46/1 OP8 updated)
“Calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure 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 included for long-standing emblematic cases; (46/1 OP9)
“Calls on the Sri Lankan government to address the current economic crisis and ensure that it does not happen again, including by investigating and, where appropriate, prosecuting corruption, including by public officials and officials. ‘former public officials, and stands ready to assist and support, impartial and transparent in this regard; (New)
“Stresses the importance of revitalizing the Office for Missing Persons and the Office for Reparations, while noting that the tangible results expected by victims and other stakeholders remain to be achieved, in particular the resolution of the numerous cases of enforced disappearances so that the families of missing persons can know their fate and whereabouts, as well as the importance of the effective and independent functioning of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission; (46/1 OP3 and OP10 – modified)
“Further calls on the government of Sri Lanka to protect civil society actors, including human rights defenders, to investigate any attacks and to ensure a safe and conducive environment in which civil society can operate without Obstruction, surveillance, insecurity and threat of reprisals; (46/1 OP11)
“Takes note of the introduction of amendments to the Prevention of Terrorism Act in March 2022, that detentions under this legislation continue to occur, and the expressed intention of the government in this regard to introduce new counter-terrorism legislation, and encourages the government to engage in consultations with civil society, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and special procedures mandate holders of the United Nations concerned when developing new legislation, to ensure that any legislation relating to the fight against terrorism is fully in line with international human rights law and international humanitarian law of the State’s obligations legal; (46/1 OP12, updated)
“Urges the Government of Sri Lanka to foster freedom of religion or belief and pluralism by fostering the ability of all religious communities to manifest their religion and contribute openly and equally to society; (46/1 OP13)
“Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to continue to cooperate with the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, including by formally responding to outstanding requests from them; (46/1 OP14)
“Encourages the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant special procedures mandate holders to provide, in consultation and with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka, advice and technical assistance in the implementation of the above-mentioned measures; (46/1 OP15)
“Calls on the Office of the High Commissioner to strengthen its monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, including progress on reconciliation and accountability, and the impact of the economic crisis and Corruption on Human Rights, and to provide oral updates to the Human Rights Council at its fifty-third and fifty-fifth sessions, as well as a written update at its fifty-fourth session and a comprehensive report including further options for advancing accountability at its fifty-seventh session, both to be considered in an interactive dialogue (46/1 OP16)”