Germany has granted Sri Lanka €1 million through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), despite concerns of Sri Lanka’s human rights record.
According to a tweet from the Permanent Mission of Germany to the Office of the UN and to the other International Organisations, “Germany UN Vienna”, the funds are aimed to build capacity to prevent and counter-terrorism and transnational organised crimes on the island.
A project on counterterrorism is being implemented by the UNODC and the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) to build an institutional capacity building to effectively detect, investigate, prosecute and adjudicate terrorism cases in Sri Lanka. The initiative which consists of a total budget of €4,500,000 began on 1 January 2020 and is due to finish on 30 June 2021.
Germany’s announcement of the grant came at a time when the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lankan is being discussed at the 46th session at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The state’s practice of torture and surveillance of Tamil political prisoners through the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), while granting amnesties to former war crimes accused Sinhala combatants, has long been criticised by rights groups and politicians around the world. Earlier this year, the European Union also agreed to fund counter-terrorism training provided by the UNODC despite on-going human rights concerns.
During the Human Rights Council session, Germany's representative, Mr Hans-Peter Jugel, expressed concern over Sri Lanka stating:
We are “concerned about shrinking civic space, and that those who pursued accountability in recent years, fear of reprisals now. Germany is convinced that a comprehensive dealing of the past is necessary for inclusive and sustainable reconciliation”
“The crimes of the past cannot remain unpunished”, he maintained.
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