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Amnesty International disappointed by Sri Lanka’s ‘lack of progress and backsliding’

Amnesty International urged the UN Human Rights Council to ensure Sri Lanka implements a resolution calling for an accountability mechanism with international judges, in a submission to the council this week.

The human rights organisation said it recognised Sri Lanka “has taken some important steps,” however added that it was “disappointed by the lack of progress, and in some cases backsliding” by the current government.

Areas that were highlighted include Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s pledge to release a list of all those who have been detained by the armed forces in June. “That list has yet to be made public,” said Amnesty.

Sri Lanka has also delayed in establishing an accountability mechanism said the group. Several senior Sri Lankan leaders, including the newly appointed foreign minister, have dismissed the notion of foreign judges joining a hybrid court – a key point of the 2015 resolution.

“Delay in establishing the necessary accountability mechanisms is not an excuse for inaction on cases already under investigation,” Amnesty added. “Emblematic cases must be pursued in order to put an end to the long wait for truth and justice of the families of those involved.”

The United Nations and members states should “provide cooperation and mutual legal assistance to support investigations into and prosecutions of crimes under international law or other serious human rights violations,” concluded the non-governmental organisation.

See the full text of its submission here.