Nov 10, Geneva: Sri Lanka's human rights record will be examined by the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group for the third time in a meeting that will be webcast live.
The review will take place on Wednesday, 15 November 2017 from 2:30 - 6:00 p.m. (Geneva Time) in Room 20 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Sri Lanka is one of the 14 States to be reviewed by the UPR Working Group during its upcoming session taking place from 6 to 17 November. Sri Lanka's first and second UPR reviews took place in May 2008 and November 2012, respectively.
The documents on which the reviews are based are: 1) national report - information provided by the State under review; 2) information contained in the reports of independent human rights experts and groups, known as the Special Procedures, human rights treaty bodies, and other UN entities; 3) information provided by other stakeholders including national human rights institutions, regional organizations and civil society groups.
Among the issues raised in the above-mentioned documents are: investigations into all cases of enforced disappearances, reparations for victims and relatives, and bringing those responsible to justice; investigations into alleged war crimes; the Prevention of Terrorism Act; operationalizing the Office of Missing Persons; steps to establish a truth and reconciliation commission; ensuring equal access to justice systems for all communities; reports of the use of torture and arbitrary arrest by security and law enforcement; addressing hate speech and incitement to violence; promoting and protecting the rights of the LGBTI community; steps taken to decriminalize same-sex relations between adults; steps to protect religious minorities; the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act; combatting gender-based and sexual violence; criminalizing all forms of violence against women, including marital rape; steps to eliminate child labor; and measures taken to improve the living conditions of the poor.
Representatives of the countries to be reviewed are scheduled to come before the Working Group, which comprises the entire membership of the 47-member Human Rights Council, to present efforts they have made in fulfilling their human rights obligations and commitments, in particular since their last UPR review, assessing both positive developments and identifying challenges.
The delegation of Sri Lanka will be headed by Dr. Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs.
The three country representatives serving as rapporteurs ("troika") for the review of Sri Lanka are: Burundi, the Republic of Korea and Venezuela.
The three reports serving as the basis for the review of Sri Lanka on 15 November can be found here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/LKIndex.aspx
The webcast of the session will be at http://webtv.un.org
The UPR Working Group is scheduled to adopt the recommendations made to Sri Lanka at 5:30 p.m. (Geneva Time) on 17 November. The State under review may wish to express its positions on recommendations posed to it during their review. The recommendations will be shared with the media on this day in advance.
The UPR is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. Since its first meeting was held in April 2008, all 193 UN member States have been reviewed twice within the first and second UPR cycles. During the third UPR cycle, States are again expected to spell out steps they have taken to implement recommendations posed during their previous reviews which they committed to follow-up on, as well as to highlight recent human rights developments in the country.