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Sri Lanka has 'stalled on key pledges to provide justice' says HRW

The Sri Lankan government has "stalled on its key pledges to provice justice for conflict-related violations and strengthen human rights protections", Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2018, published today. 

“Victims of abuses who struggled for years seeking justice finally had a moment of hope two years ago when Sri Lanka pledged to the UN to take action,” HRW's South Asia director, Meenakshi Ganguly said.

“Since then, victims have received many words but little action. The government needs to put a timetable in place for meeting its pledges to the world and to the Sri Lankan people.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is due to deliver an interim report on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council's session in March. 

HRW recommended that "UN member countries should press strongly for the government to deliver on its commitments to its population and the UN."

"While it conducted national consultations on issues around the resolution, the government has since failed to act on the recommendations. In July 2017, the government announced after many delays and setbacks that it would operationalize an Office on Missing Persons. But there was no meaningful progress during the year on the other three justice mechanisms, most notably a judicial mechanism to prosecute those responsible on all sides for grave crimes committering the country’s civil war."

"The government’s pledge to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), which was used both during and after the civil war to detain terrorism suspects for years without charge or access to counsel, also languished. In the last couple of years, the government under President Maithripala Sirisena released many of those long detained under the PTA, but offered no reparations or apologies to those arbitrarily held."