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Thank you Mr. President
The European Union wishes to congratulate the High Commissioner and the OHCHR for the reports on Sri Lanka. We welcome and support the clear recommendations made by the High Commissioner as set forward in the present and previous reports.
We also wish to welcome the re-commitments made to the people of Sri Lanka and to the international community by the Government of Sri Lanka during this session.
In 2015, by co-sponsoring HRC resolution 30/1, the Government of Sri Lanka recognized the need to address the past in order to build a better future, grounded in accountability, respect for human rights and the rule of law. The full implementation of these commitments, which have been extended once again with the resolution tabled during this session, is now urgently needed. While the EU welcomes the improvements in some areas in respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Sri Lanka, we urge the government of Sri Lanka to take immediate and sustained action to implement its commitments and institute a durable reconciliation process, including through building confidence by completing the return of occupied land, replacing the PTA and advancing the identified transitional justice mechanisms. Also, the EU is concerned about the continuing reports of harassment or surveillance of human rights defenders and of victims of human rights violations. Intimidation of victims and activists is not compatible with the reconciliation agenda.
The EU encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to adopt a time-bound implementation strategy and we welcome that this is reflected in the resolution.
The EU will continue to support Sri Lanka as it looks to work in partnership with the international community to implement its commitments as it moves forward on the path of reconciliation, justice, and progress on human rights. As a first step, we will closely engage with the Government of Sri Lanka to further strengthen the dialogue on governance, rule of law and human rights. The EU will also explore with the Government of Sri Lanka how best to assist in the implementation of the resolution, including to ensure that the recommendations are implemented through a time-bound strategy.
Madame High Commissioner, how do you see that the protection of and support for the victims of human rights violations in Sri Lanka can best be improved?
I thank you Mr. President.