The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Pablo de Greiff told the Sri Lanka and the Human Rights Council "do not wait any longer" to deliver transitional justice, as he submitted his report to the Council on Wednesday.
"The country needs decisive and courageous action: it needs a constitution which makes everyone feel that their equal rights are acknowledged and that finds a way to express their fundamental values and interests; it needs a legal framework, which guarantees that no one is above the law; it needs to break a long history of impunity, to have perpetrators brought to truly independent and fair trials; it needs robust systems to tackle and prevent corruption; it needs a security sector mindful of the necessity to reform and come to grips with past violations; it needs an education system that favours critical reflection about the past and enables children of different communities to approach each other and learn together; it needs to ensure that the divide not only between communities, but also between the affluent and those living in conditions of poverty and marginalization is being closed.
"History, however, need not be fate. The cycles of violence can indeed be broken. Transitional justice can make a significant contribution to the future. Do not wait any longer: own the project forcefully and proudly, and accelerate the pace of its implementation."
Highlighting issues that he had raised in 2015 as 'urgent issues' requiring addressing, Mr Greiff pointed out that most of these issues remained unresolved.
"In early 2015 (see annex 2), I highlighted urgent issues that needed immediate attention: clarifying the fate of the disappeared and missing; addressing land issues; refraining from arbitrary
detentions, particularly on the basis of outdated antiterrorist legislation followed by protracted trials lasting years; and putting an end to continuing forms of harassment, violence and unjustified surveillance of civil society and victims. Most of these issues are still not fully resolved."
Read statement and report here in full.