Mar 20, Geneva: The New York-based global rights organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW) Wednesday said although Sri Lanka is given more time to implement the UN Commitments it made in 2015, the government cannot delay any further and called for a stronger measures to monitor the processes and a time-bound plan for implementation.
The HRW reminded that when the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 30/1 by consensus in October 2015, Sri Lanka, through its co-sponsorship, committed to 25 key undertakings across a range of human rights issues.
A core commitment was to set up four transitional justice mechanisms to promote "reconciliation, accountability and human rights" in the country. These included an accountability mechanism involving international judges, prosecutors, investigators, and defense lawyers; a truth and reconciliation mechanism; an office of missing persons; and an office for reparations.
The HRW said while some positive steps have been taken by the government to date, both the current and former High Commissioners in their reports have expressed concern at the slow rate of progress.
"Thus far only the Office of Missing Persons has been set up, but progress was delayed, and making the office operational was marred with logistical difficulties. There has been no discernible progress on establishing an accountability mechanism involving international judges, prosecutors, and investigators. Instead, Sri Lankan political leaders have repeatedly said that there will be no foreign judges, and that "war heroes" will be protected from prosecution."
Given the insufficient progress to date, and rising frustrations that any accountability process seems stalled, civil society, Special Procedures, the former and current High Commissioners, and even the resolution Core Group itself have underlined the need for a clear timetable and framework for Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitments.
"We are disappointed that the resolution tabled for consideration this session includes reference to a time-bound implementation plan as a preambular encouragement only. It is not too late to elevate this into an operative requirement," the HRW said.
The right organization said stronger measures are needed to assist in monitoring, implementing and fulfilling these commitments, such as an OHCHR field presence, Special Procedure and evidence-gathering, justice and accountability mechanisms.
"Sri Lanka's long-term peace and stability hinges upon the international community's willingness to support the government in addressing the past so that it may look to the future," it said.