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Core Group highlights Sri Lanka’s failures on accountability and reconciliation

UK Ambassador Rita French sharply criticised Sri Lanka’s failure to deliver on promises of accountability and reconciliation whilst also noting ongoing intimidation and harassment of civil society actors and journalists.

Her statement was a joint statement by the Sri Lanka Core Group comprising of Canada, N Macedonia, Malawi, Montenegro, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

Speaking on Sri Lanka’s proposed domestic-led truth and reconciliation, French emphasised the need for an “inclusive participatory process” to “gain the confidence of all affected communities. However, Sri Lanka’s proposed domestic-led process has been widely panned by Tamil activists and the broader human rights communities for being yet another empty promise with little substance.

Sri Lanka has long averted calls for international accountability by shifting the focus onto domestic-led mechanisms, however, as the Office of Missing Persons has shown, these have all failed to deliver significant results. This can be traced to the State’s unwillingness to hold its military accountable for the atrocities committed. These repeated failures have pushed the Tamil community to demand an impartial international investigation into the crimes committed by the Sri Lankan state.

The UK ambassador emphasised that as Sri Lanka takes steps to move forward with its economic recovery, there must be a focus on “safeguarding established independent institutions, and democratic processes”.

She further urged Sri Lanka to work with the UN High Commissioner and his office. Her statement also reemphasised the UK’s continued commitment to UN HRC resolution 51/1.

Read the full statement here.

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