The Sri Lanka Core Group of the Human Rights Council states that Sri Lanka must protect the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association and expression and ensure accountability for any violence associated with protests.
This means that legal action should be taken against officers who use violent force against peaceful protests.
Thus, the United Nations will also take care of such officials.
United Kingdom Ambassador Simon Manley made the statement on behalf of the Sri Lankan team while addressing the 52nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The Sri Lanka Group of the Human Rights Council consists of Canada, Malawi, Montenegro, North Macedonia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Ambassador Simon Manley further stated:
“Our concern is with the strong response to peaceful protests. Sri Lanka must protect freedom of peaceful assembly and association and expression. We demand that there be accountability for any violence associated with the protests. Civil society has an important role to play in promoting the protection of human rights and we emphasize the importance of preserving space for the important work of civil society in any future legislation.
The statement emphasizes the importance of holding elections on time:
“We emphasize the critical importance of upholding the rule of law and protecting representative democracy, including ensuring the independence of institutions and governance systems. This includes the electoral system where it is very important to maintain the confidence of Sri Lankans.”
The Sri Lankan team has emphasized in the statement that it urges the Sri Lankan authorities to address the long-standing impunity and corruption and emphasizes the need for good governance to better support the prosperity of all Sri Lankans together with sound economic policies.
Complete statement appended below
UN Human Rights Council – 52nd Session
As Delivered by Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the WTO and UN in Geneva, Simon Manley
Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
This statement is by the Sri Lanka Core Group comprising Canada, Malawi, Montenegro, North Macedonia, the UK and the United States.
We welcome recent commitments with respect to the protection of human rights in Sri Lanka, including those of persons from all religious and ethnic groups. Together with recent efforts at constitutional reform, and initiatives aimed at fostering political inclusion, these provide a basis upon which to build.
We also welcome Sri Lanka’s positive engagement in the Universal Periodic Review process in January. We are keen to assist Sri Lanka in implementing its UPR recommendations.
However, our concerns over heavy-handed responses to peaceful protests remain. Sri Lanka must safeguard the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and freedom of expression. We call for accountability for any protest-related violence. Civil society has an important part to play in encouraging the protection of human rights and we underline the importance of protecting space for civil society’s important work, including through any future legislation.
We stress the crucial importance of upholding the rule of law and safeguarding representative democracy, including by ensuring the independence of institutions and governance systems. This includes the electoral system, in which maintaining the confidence of Sri Lankans is crucial.
We urge the Sri Lankan authorities to address long-standing impunity and corruption. We also underline the need for good governance, which together with sound economic policies, should better support the prosperity of all Sri Lankans.
Noting commitments made to the Council in September by the Government of Sri Lanka, we emphasise the importance of transitional justice, including promotion of truth and accountability, with the goal of reconciliation and accountability for all communities. We also emphasise the importance of replacing the Prevention of Terrorism Act with legislation that aligns with Sri Lanka’s international obligations.
The Core Group calls on Sri Lanka to work with the High Commissioner and his Office. We remain ready to support Sri Lanka in addressing HRC resolution 51/1.
Source :Sri Lanka Brief