The EU thanks the High Commissioner for her report which we welcome. We reaffirm our commitment to Human Rights, reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka.
We regret that the Government of Sri Lanka no longer supports the comprehensive HRC process after 2015. We are concerned about a set back of the important gains made in recent years.
It is key to preserve achievements like the Office of Missing Persons and the Office for Reparation, safeguard their independence and provide them with sufficient resources.
We share the concern of the High Commissioner about the warning signs of a deteriorating human rights situation, mainly the erosion of democratic checks and balances and the rise of exclusionary rhetoric. We are particularly worried about intensified surveillance and intimidation of CSOs, human rights defenders and victims as well as the discrimination of persons belonging to religious and ethnic minority communities, which the COVID-19 crises has exacerbated.
We are also concerned about the ongoing impunity for past gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law, including torture and ill-treatment. Though the HRC has for many years stressed the need for accountability, domestic processes did not deliver. We therefore attach great importance to the High Commissioner’s assessments on possible avenues for advancing accountability and end impunity.
We hope that the Government of Sri Lanka will remain committed to promoting reconciliation and accountability in the country.
We encourage the government to continue to ensure the effective functioning of the National Human Rights Commission and to cooperate with OHCHR and special procedures mandate holders. The EU expresses its openness to continue the dialogue on human rights.
Madame High Commissioner, how to best involve and protect victims in ensuring accountability?