Responding to the resolution on Sri Lanka adopted today at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which strengthens and extends the accountability mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dinushika Dissanayake, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for South Asia, said:
“The adoption of the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution reflects the need for continuing international scrutiny on Sri Lanka. It is a welcome step in the right direction, but more needs to be done. The Council failed to respond to civil society demands for the establishment of an expert mechanism that could address the broad spectrum of human rights violations including those arising from the serious economic and political crisis that the country faces.
“The Government of Sri Lanka should abide by the commitments it has made to the international community and ensure the effective operation of redressal bodies for human rights violations, such as the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the Office on Missing Persons, the Office on Reparations, and the National Authority for the protection of Victims of a Crime and Witnesses, among others.
“We urge all UN member states to increase international accountability in line with the recommendation made by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in her report, including through investigations and prosecutions under universal jurisdiction and, where possible, by referring cases to the International Criminal Court.”
The resolution comes in the wake of damning reports by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Amnesty International and others, all of which reported violations of human rights during Sri Lanka’s response to the economic crisis and the authorities’ crackdown on protests.
Amnesty International has previously documented the catastrophic impact of the crisis on Sri Lankans’ economic and social rights and detailed violations of civil and political rights during the crisis.
The organization also sent a joint open letter to members of the UNHRC, calling on them to adopt a strong resolution on Sri Lanka that strengthens existing UN mandates on accountability.