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Rights groups urge UNHRC to take action over intimidation by Sri Lanka

Six key human rights groups have urged the President of the UN Human Rights Council to condemn Sri Lanka's ongoing intimidation and harassment of rights activists who work with the UN body.

In a joint letter published Monday, the NGOs - Amnesty International, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), International Movement Against Discrimination and All Form of Racism (IMADR) and International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) - called on the UNHRC president "to take the meaningful steps necessary to protect human rights defenders and other individuals from intimidation and reprisals in connection with their cooperation with the UN."

"The UN Human Rights Council also has a responsibility to protect those who engage with it from intimidation and reprisals. In this regard, we call on the Council, through its President, to condemn the systematic reprisals faced by Sri Lankan human rights defenders and other individuals as well as to remind Sri Lanka of its obligation to ensure that all persons can exercise their right to free and unhindered access to UN human rights mechanisms," the groups said.

"We call on the member and observer States of the Council to be resolute in addressing what seems to be a systematic policy of continued harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders from Sri Lanka who engage with the UN human rights system, including by mobilising their diplomatic representatives in Sri Lanka to take all such steps as are necessary to protect human rights defenders from all forms of intimidation, threat or attack," they added.

See full letter here.