Mar 15, Geneva: The United Nation Human Rights Council this morning adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review on Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights Minister of Plantation Industries Mahinda Samarasinghe delivered a statement to the Council on Sri Lanka's progress in the promotion of human rights.
Minister Samarasinghe said that Sri Lanka had achieved success in the humanitarian operation of rescuing the civilian population held by a ruthless group of terrorists.
He briefed the Council that the government is actively engaged in removing military involvement in civil administration, demining, and rehabilitation, and had launched national reconciliation and peace-building initiatives.
Sri Lanka had accepted 113 out of 204 recommendations received, and had also made 19 voluntary commitments. Sri Lanka was currently evaluating the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
In the discussion following the Minister's statement speakers welcomed Sri Lanka's acceptance of several recommendations and the ongoing implementation of 19 voluntary commitments.
Pakistan said these commitments are a reflection of the seriousness of the Sri Lankan government in protecting and promoting human rights of its people and the difficulties faced by Sri Lanka to protect and promote human rights after the end of the war in 2009 should be recognized.
"The progress achieved so far outweighs challenges and it should be appreciated," Pakistan representative said.
Oman said that Sri Lanka had accepted most of the recommendations made, which demonstrated its willingness to cooperate with the Council and showed its determination to comply with human rights obligations.
In a statement India appreciated Sri Lanka's acceptance of its recommendations to implement LLRC recommendations and to promote trilingual policy while expressing hope that other issues such as early progress toward reconciliation, reduction of high security zones, return of private land by the military and phasing out military from civil administration in North and investigations of allegations of right violations.
Philippines said that Sri Lanka had shown deep commitment to the advancement of human rights welcomed in particular acceptance by Sri Lanka of the recommendation pertaining to the National Action Plan and the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.
United Kingdom expressed serious concern about freedom of expression in Sri Lanka and asked why the recommendation to invite the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion to visit the country was rejected.
Some speakers expressed disappointment over Sri Lanka's rejection of a large number of recommendations, and said that they remained concerned about existing restrictions on freedom of religion and expression, forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, attacks on the independence of the judiciary, and incidents of sexual violence against women and children.
Sri Lanka said was confident that by its next Review in 2017 it would be able to demonstrate further progress in the promotion and protection of the human rights of its people.
In his closing remarks the Minister has brought to the attention of the Council the atrocities committed by the Tamil Tigers killing thousands of people and evicting thousands of Muslims out of their homes in the North.
All the talk about killings and atrocities must be balanced and include also those committed by the Tamil Tigers, the Minister pointed out.
He said Sri Lanka needed time and space to deal with such gruesome events and with the challenges ahead and had not absolved itself from responsibility.
The Minister told the Council that Sri Lanka was committed to achieving national reconciliation and sustainable peace and asked all to be balanced and impartial.