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Sri Lanka is ‘backtracking on accountability’ says Amnesty International

Amnesty International said Sri Lanka has been “backtracking on accountability” and warned that victims groups had become disillusioned in the transitional justice process given Colombo’s failure to meet commitments made to the UN Human Rights Council.

In a statement released in the wake of the Council passing another resolution granting Sri Lanka two further years to implement a 2015 resolution on accountability, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, Biraj Patnaik, said it “is disappointing” that the final text “failed to address Sri Lanka’s failure to meet its commitments to date”.

Though Patnaik called the passing of the resolution “an important step in the pursuit of justice for the victims,” he said “despite the pledges made in Resolution 30/1, there continues to be impunity for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law”. 

“The absence of accountability and the slow progress on other fronts has disillusioned many victims’ groups and eroded hopes for the transitional justice process,” he added.

In particular Patnaik highlighted Sri Lankan foreign minister Thilak Marapana’s address to the Council, stating that “the Sri Lankan government’s backtracking on accountability was in evidence during the interactive dialogue, where the Foreign Minister pushed back against the recommendation that hybrid courts be established”. 

He concluded by stating,

“Transitional justice must not become a casualty of Sri Lanka’s political situation. To ensure no further delays take place, the Sri Lankan government should work together with the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights to develop a time-bound implementation strategy, as recommended by the resolution.”

See the full text of the Amnesty International reaction to the resolution here.