UK-led Core Group urges Sri Lanka to advance principles of UN resolutions despite withdrawal

Saturday, 29 February 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Says deeply disappointed by Govt. decision 
  • Group recognises that after resolution, space for HR activists, academics, journalists increased 
  • Protection of civil society, independent media, HR institutions critical to free society 
  • Welcomes OMP, Office of Reparations  


The Core Group on Sri Lanka, expressing disappointment over Sri Lanka’s decision to withdraw from the UN resolutions on promotion of reconciliation and accountability yesterday, nonetheless called on the Government to advance the principles of the resolution, to ensure a prosperous and inclusive Sri Lanka.

Issuing a statement, the Core Group on Sri Lanka, which includes the UK, Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, and Montenegro, said the co-sponsored resolutions are hugely significant for Sri Lanka and for the UN Human Rights Council, as they marked the end of a period of confrontation, and started a partnership and a sense of common purpose between Sri Lanka and the Council.

In 2015, Sri Lanka co-sponsored Resolution 30/1, which provided a framework to address the legacy of conflict, and build the foundations for sustainable and inclusive peace. Sri Lanka committed to delivering progress on accountability, reconciliation, and human rights with the support of the Council, and reaffirmed those commitments through two further resolutions. As the High Commissioner’s report highlights, these resolutions have their origins in Sri Lanka’s domestic processes. The Core Group noted that from 2015, important steps have been taken, as recognised in successive Council reports.

“We join the High Commissioner in welcoming the significant progress in institution building, including through the establishment of the Office of Reparations and the Office on Missing Persons. Fulfilment of the mandates of these offices would bring hope to those left behind, following tens of thousands of cases of enforced disappearances over many years,” the Group said.

The Group, recognising that following the resolution human rights defenders, academics, and journalists have had more freedom and experienced less intimidation, shared the High Commissioner’s concern at the growing number of reports of harassment and surveillance of human rights defenders and victims of human rights violations.

“The protection of civil society, independent media and human rights institutions from intimidation remains critical to fulfil Sri Lanka’s commitment to a free and open democratic society, both in the build-up to, and beyond, the upcoming Parliamentary Elections,” the Group stated.

The Core Group said they are deeply disappointed and concerned that the Government has changed its approach to the resolution, and remain profoundly committed to Resolution 30/1 and its principles of reconciliation, accountability, inter-communal harmony, and justice for victims of conflict.

The Group urged the Government of Sri Lanka to advance all of these principles, and to ensure a prosperous and inclusive Sri Lanka for which the rule of law and ending impunity are a fundamental basis.

“We encourage the Government of Sri Lanka to continue cooperation and dialogue with the Council, the OHCHR, and UN human rights mechanisms, to facilitate progress towards a lasting peace where the rights of all of Sri Lanka’s people can flourish,” the Group said.