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Human Rights Watch calls on UN HRC to stop Sri Lanka 'playing games' with accountability commitments

Human Rights Watch called on the UN Human Rights Council to ensure Sri Lanka ‘stops playing games’ and delivers on its commitments including accountability involving international judges, prosecutors and investigators.

In a statement ahead of Sri Lanka’s interim review at the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Geneva director of Human rights watch, Jon Fisher, said,

“The Human Rights Council needs to make it clear to the Sri Lankan government that it expects it to stop playing games and start delivering on tis commitments. The Sri Lankan government needs to move beyond pre-session PR and present a meaningful concrete plan to deliver results for the victims who have been awaiting justice for far too long.”

Commenting on Sri Lanka’s newly formed Office of Missing Peron’s, which was announced to be operational just ahead of the 37th session of the UN Human rights Council, Mr Fisher added,

“It must do its work quickly and properly. Families of the disappeared have appeared before commission after commission and many have camped out in the open over the past year in protest of government inaction.”

The rights organisation added that the Office of Missing Persons, “is just the latest body set up in Sri Lanka to look into enforced disappearances. Repots of prior government-established commissions, some of which have been made public in recent years, have not led to accountability.”

Reiterating the necessity for Sri Lanka to deliver on genuine accountability, the statement said,

“The justice and accountability mechanism in the 2015 resolution is a key demand from victims and families affected by Sri Lanka’s 27 year civil war… The government should publicly set out when this mechanism will be set up instead of hiding behind various politically expedient excuses. The government has also failed to deliver on tis other pledges under the 2015 resolution.”

Stressing the danged of reoccurring violence due to ongoing impunity, Mr Fisher conceded,

“A lack of justice and impunity for past abuses fuels current abuses in Sri Lanka. The government’s delay in undertaking promised reforms is a slap in the face to the victims and their families who have waited for years for answers. The government should stop hiding behind politically expedient excuses and act on its ledges.”

See full statement here.