Updated 0900 GMT 13/03/2016
File Photograph: Tamil Guardian
Member states and non-governmental organisations have reiterated their support for the full implementation of a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution which calls for an accountability mechanism with international involvement to deal with mass atrocities committed in Sri Lanka.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al Hussain said the Sri Lankan government needs to move faster on releasing land held by the military, reviewing cases of Tamil detainees and resolving the issue of disappearances.
“The next months will be important, as the Government embarks on national consultations for the design of a comprehensive transitional justice process to implement fully this Council's resolution,” said the High Commissioner adding, “I look forward to reporting to you further on progress at the June session”.
Whilst Sri Lankan foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the UN resolution and expressed openness to international involvement, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has been repeatedly clear he would reject such a move. Mr Samaraweera’s comments have also reportedly upset the Sri Lankan president.
Sri Lanka FM reaffirms commitment to UNHRC resolution (04 Mar 2016)
Northern Province Councillor Ananthy Sasitharan told the UN Human Rights Council that “systematic structural genocide is continuing” in Sri Lanka and that despite the change in government last year “there has been no real change for the Tamil people”.
“The Tamil nation is still under military occupation,” she said, adding that “there is no point in talking about accountability while we are all under military occupation”. ”. “A real reconciliation could only come through demonstrating serious commitment to resolve the conflict and address the wounds,” she continued.
Last month, the United States “expressed support to Sri Lanka in fully implementing the commitments as agreed in the Human Rights Council resolution” and told the council that “we believe it is important for the Council to remain engaged, as the governments confront their legacies of human rights violations and address the challenges that remain”.
The European Union called on Sri Lanka to “further increase its cooperation” with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights “in view of the full implementation of its commitments” of a UN resolution passed last year.
Britain also reiterated it was “firmly committed to the full implementation of the resolution” on accountability for mass atrocities committed during the final phases of the armed conflict.
Meanwhile several NGOs also called for international involvement in an accountability mechanism, in line with full implementation of the Un resolution.
Amnesty International urged UN Human Rights Council's member states to ensure justice is delivered to victims in Sri Lanka and highlighted the "utmost importance" of international role in justice mechanism.
The families of the “tens of thousands of missing who are unaccounted for are still suffering” despite a change of government in Sri Lanka, said Pasumai Thayagam.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it was concerned at statements made by the Sri Lankan government, which called into question its commitment to fully implement a UN resolution on accountability.
Sri Lanka needs international involvement “at all levels” in order to implement a UN resolution on accountability for mass atrocities, said the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR).