Mar 25, Geneva: The final draft of the resolution on Sri Lanka sponsored by the United States, the United Kingdom and three other countries was submitted to the 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva this morning .
The sponsors submitted the revisions and amendments to the resolution HRC25 "Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka" before today's deadline. The Council will vote on the resolution Wednesday, March 26.
The draft of the revised resolution, which specified a time period to investigate the alleged human rights violations, was circulated among the member states of the UNHRC Monday.
The revised version requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to undertake a comprehensive independent investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka, during the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), and establish the facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and of the crimes perpetrated with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability, with assistance from relevant experts and special procedures.
The revised draft limits the time period for the OHCHR to conduct the investigations to the period covered by the LLRC which investigated the incidents from February, 2002 to May, 2009.
The more recent time period specified by the resolution means the numerous suicide bombings, massacres and other atrocities committed by the Tamil Tiger terrorist organization Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) before 2002 during the three-decade long war, as well as the violations by the Indian Peace keeping Force (IPKF) in the late 80s will not be investigated.
The Sri Lankan government has stressed that it is grossly unfair to investigate only the last phase of the war and constantly called for a comprehensive investigation during the whole three decades of war if an international inquiry were to be conducted.
However, the text of the final version of the resolution formulated with the help of India effectively eliminates any probe on India's complicity in Sri Lanka's terrorist war.
Following is the text of the revised draft resolution HRC#25.
Draft resolution HRC 25 24 March 2014
25/1. Promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka
The Human Rights Council,
1. Reaffirming the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
2. Guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant instruments,
3. Bearing in mind General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006,
4. Recalling Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1, on institution-building of the Council, and 5/2, on the code of conduct for special procedures mandate holders, of 18 June 2007,
5. Recalling also Human Rights Council resolutions 19/2 of 22 March 2012 and 22/1 of 21 March 2013 on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka,
5 bis. Reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka,
6. Reaffirming that it is the responsibility of each State to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of its entire population,
7. Reaffirming also that States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, as applicable,
8. Recognizing the Human Rights Council's support of Reaffirming that all Sri Lankans to are entitled to the full enjoyment of their human rights regardless of creed, faith religion, belief, or ethnicity, in a peaceful and unified land,
9. Welcoming and acknowledging the progress made by the Government of Sri Lanka in rebuilding infrastructure, demining, and resettling the majority of internally displaced persons, but noting nonetheless that considerable work lies ahead in the areas of justice, reconciliation, land use and ownership demilitarization, the resumption of livelihoods and the restoration of normality in civilian life, and stressing the importance of the full participation of local populations, including representatives of civil society and minorities, in these efforts,
Welcoming the announcement made by the Government of Sri Lanka that elections to the Provincial Council in the Northern Province will be held in September 2013,
10. Welcoming the successful holding of Provincial Council elections held on September 21, 2013 and in particular the high turn-out and participation in all three provinces, but noting with concern reports of election-related violence, as well as voter and candidate intimidation,
11. Expressing appreciation for the efforts and cooperation of the Government of Sri Lanka in facilitating the visit of a technical mission from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and providing her with open access, and encouraging the Government to increase its dialogue and cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner, and welcoming the visit of the High Commissioner to Sri Lanka in August 2013,
12. Expressing deep concern over reported intimidation and retaliation against civil society members who engage with UN human rights mechanisms including those who met with the High Commissioner during her visit,
13. Expressing serious concern at the continuing reports of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, including sexual and gender-based violence, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, threats to judicial independence and the rule of law, as well as intimidation of and reprisals against human rights defenders, members of civil society, lawyers and journalists,
14. Alarmed at the significant surge in attacks rapid rise in violence and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief, particularly against members of religious minority groups in Sri Lanka, including Hindus, Muslims and Christians,
15. Calling upon the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfil its public commitments, including on the devolution of political authority which is integral to reconciliation and the full enjoyment of human rights by all members of its population,
16. Taking note of the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of Sri Lanka, its findings and recommendations, and acknowledging its possible contribution to the process of meaningful national reconciliation in Sri Lanka,
17. Recalling the constructive recommendations contained in the Commission's report, including the need to credibly investigate widespread allegations of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, demilitarize the north of Sri Lanka, implement impartial land dispute resolution mechanisms, re-evaluate detention policies, strengthen formerly independent civil institutions, reach a political settlement on the devolution of power to the provinces, promote and protect the right of freedom of expression for all persons and enact rule of law reforms,
18. Taking note also of the national plan of action to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of the Government of Sri Lanka and its commitments as set forth in response to the findings and recommendations of the Commission,
19. Noting Reiterating Noting that the national plan of action does not adequately address all of the findings and constructive recommendations of the Commission, and encouraging the Government of Sri Lanka to broaden the scope of the plan to adequately address all elements of the Commission report,
20. Noting Also reiterating Noting with concern that the national plan of action and the Commission's report do not adequately address serious allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,
21. Emphasizing Emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive approach to transitional justice incorporating the full range of judicial and non-judicial measures, including, among others, individual prosecutions, reparations, truth-seeking, institutional reform, vetting of public employees and officials, or an appropriately conceived combination thereof, in order to, inter alia, ensure accountability, serve justice, provide remedies to victims, promote healing and reconciliation, establish independent oversight of the security system and restore confidence in the institutions of the State and promote the rule of law in accordance with international human rights law, with a view to preventing recurrence of violations and abuses
22. Underlining underlines that truth-seeking processes, such as truth and reconciliation commissions, that investigate patterns of past human rights violations and their causes and consequences are important tools that can complement judicial processes and that, when established, such mechanisms have to be designed within a specific societal context and to be founded on broad national consultations with the inclusion of victims and civil society, including non-governmental organizations,
23. Recalling Reaffirms the responsibility of States to comply with their relevant obligations to prosecute those responsible for gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law constituting crimes under international law, with a view to end impunity;
24. Recallingthe High Commissioner's conclusion that national mechanisms have consistently failed to establish the truth and achieve justice, and her recommendation that the Human Rights Council establish an international inquiry mechanism to further investigate the Noting the call made by the High Commissioner for an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law and monitor any domestic accountability processes,
25. Encouraging the Government to increase its dialogue and cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner, including with regard to technical assistance,
1. Welcomes the oral update of 25 September 2013 and the report of 24 February 2014 of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on advise and technical assistance for the Government of Sri Lanka on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka and the recommendations and conclusions contained therein, in particular including on the establishment of a truth-seeking mechanism and national reparations policy as an integral part of a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to transitional justice;
2. Calls upon Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka: to implement the recommendations made in the reports of the Office of the High Commissioner, and also calls upon the Government to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as applicable; to hold accountable those responsible for such violations; to end continuing incidents of human rights violations and abuses in Sri Lanka; and to implement the recommendations made in the reports of the Office of the High Commissioner;
3. Reiterates its call upon the Government of Sri Lanka to implement effectively the constructive recommendations made in the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and to take all necessary additional steps to fulfil its relevant legal obligations and commitment to initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans;
4. Urges the Government of Sri Lanka to investigate all alleged attacks, by individuals and groups, on temples, mosques, and churches and to take steps to prevent future attacks; and calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to investigate and hold accountable perpetrators of attacks on places of worship, journalists, human rights defenders, members of religious minority groups, and other members of civil society, as well as on temples, mosques and churches, and further urges the Government of Sri Lanka to hold perpetrators of such attacks to account and take steps to prevent such attacks in the future;
5. Calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to release publicly the results of its investigations into alleged violations by security forces, including the attack on unarmed protesters in Weliweriya on August 1, 2013, and the Army Court of Inquiry report of 2013;
6. Encourages Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to provide ensure that all Provincial Councils, including the Northern Provincial Council, and its Chief Minister with the resources and authority necessary to govern, as required by are able to operate effectively, in line with the 13th Amendment of Sri Lanka's constitution;
7. Welcomes the visit by the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons in December 2013, and to issue an invitation to the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants; and calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to facilitate the effective implementation of durable solutions for IDPs, including the long-term displaced
7 bis. Further welcomes the invitation to the Special Rapporteurs on the Human Rights of Migrants and the Right to Education;
7 ter. Encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to cooperate with other special procedures mandate holders and to respond formally to their outstanding requests, including long standing requests;
8. Welcomes Takes note of the High Commissioner's recommendations and conclusions regarding ongoing human rights violations and on the need for an independent and credible an international inquiry mechanism in the absence of a credible national process with tangible results, and requests the Office of the High Commissioner:
a) to monitor the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and continue to assess progress toward accountability and reconciliation on relevant national processes;
b)to undertake a comprehensive independent investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses ofhuman rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka, during the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and establish the facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and of the crimes perpetrated with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability, with input assistance from relevant experts and special procedures special procedures mandate holders as appropriate,;
c) to present an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-seventh fourth session, and a comprehensive report followed by a discussion on the implementation of the present resolution at its twenty-eighth fifth session.
9. Encourages the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant special procedures mandate holders to provide, in consultation with and with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka, in consultation with and with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka, advice and technical assistance on implementing the above-mentioned steps;
10. Calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner concerning the implementation of this resolution.