Oct 30, Colombo: Sri Lanka will face some tough questioning at the United Nations human rights body Thursday when the periodical review of its progress during the past four years on the human rights front gets underway at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's special envoy for human rights, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe will share the progress country has made in all aspects of the promotion and protection of human rights before the international human rights forum.
Under the Universal Periodic Review process, which scrutinizes the human right record of each member state every four years, Sri Lanka will face tough questions posed by several UN member countries as well as international and local human right groups and other stakeholders.
A troika headed by India, with Benin and Spain as the other members, would review Sri Lanka's responses and based on the responses will formulate the report of the review and the Council will adopt the review following a vote.
Sri Lanka will have to answer questions not only from western countries like US, UK, Canada, and European states that have been critical of island nation's right record for years but also from its friends, Cuba, China, and Pakistan,
Most countries have raised questions on the progress made in, among others, democratization of former conflict-affected areas of the Northern and the Eastern provinces, rehabilitation of child soldiers, investigations into disappearances and missing cases, prevention of torture, language rights of all communities and the implementation of the five-year National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights.
The international human right organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has meanwhile urged the UN members to use the UPR process to question Sri Lanka on accountability for right abuses.
"Governments should use the UPR to question Sri Lanka's deteriorating human rights situation and make recommendations for meaningful change," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
UN member countries should express grave concern about Sri Lanka's failures to act on the 2008 UPR recommendations and approach the 2012 UPR submission with skepticism, the HRW suggested.
The Ministry of External Affairs said Monday that Sri Lanka was ready to face the UPR process with confidence.
"We have prepared well to face the review," Secretary to the Ministry Karunatilaka Amunugama said.
The high-powered Sri Lanka delegation led by Minister Samarasinghe and comprising officials from the External Affairs Ministry, Justice Ministry and the Attorney General's Department had travelled to Geneva for the UPR.