June 22, Colombo: The Core Group on Sri Lanka called upon the Sri Lankan Government to address the harmful legacies of war and to protect human rights, including for those from religious minorities.
Delivering a statement at the 47th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Core Group on behalf of Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Malawi, Montenegro and the UK regretted the lack of progress on these issues, with a number of further concerning developments.
The Core Group noting that the Sri Lankan Government has attempted to dismiss a number of emblematic cases and to initiate criminal proceedings against individuals pursuing some of these cases and it counters the Council’s call for prompt, thorough and impartial investigations called for former CID director Shani Abeysekera’s safety to be ensured.
“We are deeply concerned about the ongoing use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the recent intention to introduce a rehabilitation process lacking adequate judicial oversight. Human rights lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah, and poet and teacher Ahnaf Jazeem, remain detained without trial and further arrests under this Act have continued, including among minority communities and the political opposition,” the Core Group said..
“We remain concerned about the restrictions on memorialization. We join the Bar Association of Sri Lanka in requesting independent and impartial investigations into recent deaths in police custody.”
The Core Group expressed concerns over the appointments to the Office on Missing Persons and reiterated the importance of ensuring independent and credible institutions to achieve justice.
“We encourage Sri Lanka to cooperate with the Council and OHCHR in relation to resolution 46/1 and stand ready to support this.”