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UNHRC resolution tabled in Parliament

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  • Resolution details need for time-bound implementation of CTA and completion of 2015 resolution


By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent

The resolution to be presented before the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) during ongoing sessions was presented to Parliament yesterday, details the need for Sri Lanka to adopt a time bound implementation strategy for the Counter Terrorism Act (CTA) and the completion of the resolution agreed to in 2015.  

Leader of the House of Parliament Lakshman Kiriella told the Parliament that he supported the resolution as it was in support of measures taken by the Government and praises reconciliation efforts since 2015.

According to the Minister, the resolution was submitted by six countries including Canada, Germany, Montenegro, North Macedonia, the UK and Northern Ireland have requesting the Office of the UN High Commissioner to continue to assess progress on the implementation of its recommendations and present a comprehensive report in two years’ time.

Challenging the ridiculous decisions the President has taken to send a team of Opposition lawmakers to represent him at the UNHCR session, Kiriella found nothing against Sri Lanka in the resolution but said it mostly commends the actions that were taken and the progress made under the current Government.

Kiriella, demanding to know an answer from United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MP Mahinda Samarasinghe who is to lead the President’s delegation, said: “The Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary should have their own responsibilities and limits. We should know our limits. The President should understand his limits. If we try to step on the toes of each other then there would be chaos. He showed that he does not know his limits. We made him the President. He made the one who defeated him the Prime Minister. That was against the people’s Mandate.”

The full text of the draft resolution titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ is as follows.

The Human Rights Council, reaffirming the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, Guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant instruments, reaffirming Human Rights Council resolutions 30/1 of 1 October 2015 and 34/1 of 23 March 2017 on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka,

Recalling Human Rights Council resolutions 19/2 of 22 March 2012, 22/1 of 21 March 2013 and 25/1 of 27 March 2014, 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, reaffirming also its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, recognising the strong role played by Sri Lanka’s democratic institutions in the peaceful resolution of the political situation that arose in Sri Lanka from October to December 2018, welcoming the establishment of the Office on Missing Persons in September 2017 and the appointment of its Commissioners in February 2018 and the assumption of its work to fully implement its mandate, welcoming also the visits made by the Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter terrorism from 10 to 14 July 2017, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence from 10 to 23 October 2017, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention from 4 to 15 December 2017 and the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt on the full enjoyment of human rights from 3 to 11 September 2018, noting with appreciation the return of some private land previously occupied by the military to civilian ownership while recalling repeated public commitments by the Government of Sri Lanka  to release all private land occupied by the military, to enable local populations to resume livelihoods, noting other steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to implement Human Rights Council resolution 30/1, including progress towards establishing an Office on Reparations and the submission to cabinet of a concept paper on a Bill to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the proposed repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1978 and the preparation of a draft Counter Terrorism Act,  while reiterating in this context the need for further significant progress and encouraging in this regard the adoption of a time-bound implementation strategy,

Takes note with appreciation of the comprehensive report presented by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council at its 40th session, as requested by the Council in its resolution 34/1, and requests the Government of Sri Lanka to implement fully the measures identified by the Council in its resolution 30/1 that are outstanding;

Welcomes the positive engagement of the Government of Sri Lanka with the High Commissioner and the Office of the High Commissioner since October 2015, and with relevant special procedure mandate holders, and encourages the continuation of that engagement in the promotion and protection of human rights and truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka;Requests the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant special procedure Mandate holders, in consultation with and with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka, to continue to strengthen their advice and technical assistance on the promotion and protection of human rights and truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka;

Requests the Office of the High Commissioner to continue to assess progress on the implementation of its recommendations and other relevant processes related to reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, and to present a written update to the Human Rights Council at its 43rd session, and a comprehensive report, followed by a discussion on the implementation of Council resolution 30/1, at its 46th session. 


Marapana leads 5-member Lankan team for UNHRC sessions

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