Steps taken by Sri Lanka encouraging, report hopeful- UN Rights Chief

Geneva : The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in his report, concluded that overall the steps taken by the Sri Lankan government to implement some of the key commitments made in UN Resolution last year are encouraging.

The report, however, added that more rapid and sustained progress could have been made on some other issues.

“Overall, the Human Rights Council should be encouraged thus far by the steps that the Government of Sri Lanka has taken to implement some of the key commitments made in Resolution 30/1, and the consultations and preparations now underway to further elaborate and design the transitional justice mechanisms,” the advanced version of the High Commissioner’s oral update released on Monday said.

The report on Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka listed the restoration of the Constitutional Council, an independent Human Rights Commission and the ratification of the Disappearances Convention (CED) as important achievements that “will leave a legacy for the future.”

The report expressed hope that the new Office of Missing Persons, once established, will provide at least a form of immediate redress for the families of the disappeared, reports Colombo Page.

“Nonetheless, the establishment of full transitional justice mechanisms will be needed to provide a comprehensive response to past human rights violations and ensure that they do not reccur,” it said.

The High Commissioner believes the Government’s efforts to implement its commitments in Resolution 30/1 will require a comprehensive strategy that enables it to pursue different processes in a coordinated, integrated and appropriately sequenced manner.

“Such a strategy would bring together the currently unwieldy coordination arrangements within Government and facilitate greater coordination of international donor support,” he said.

“It should be backed up by a concerted public information campaign that would mobilise the power and participation of civil society behind the transitional justice process. This would also increase transparency and ensure that the current consultation process with victims and civil society can be maximized and have a meaningful input into the design of transitional justice mechanisms.”

The High Commissioner said the encouragement and support of the Human Rights Council has been crucial in underpinning this process and giving assurance and confidence to all stakeholders, particularly the victim community.

He also expressed hope that the Human Rights Council will sustain its close engagement and looked forward to reporting on further progress at its thirty-fourth session. (ANI)