Sept 14, Geneva: The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet today expressed concerns over Sri Lanka’s proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution.
Delivering opening remarks at the 45th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva Monday, the Rights Chief said she is troubled by the swift changes the Sri Lankan government is making after withdrawing its support to the UN resolution 30/1.
“In Sri Lanka, I am troubled that the new Government is swiftly reneging on its commitments to the Human Rights Council since it withdrew its support for resolution 30/1,” she said.
Bachelet said among other developments, the proposed 20th amendment to the Constitution may negatively impact on the independence of key institutions, including the National Human Rights Commission.
The High Commissioner also expressed concerns on the pardon given in March to a former Army sergeant convicted of participating in unlawful killings; appointments to key civilian roles of senior military officials allegedly involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity; and moves within the police and judiciary to thwart the investigation of such crimes, set a very negative trend.
“The surveillance and intimidation of victims, their families, human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers should cease immediately,” Bachelet said.
The UN Rights Chief encouraged the Council to give renewed attention to Sri Lanka, in view of the need to prevent threats to peace, reconciliation and sustainable development.