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Sri Lanka pledges to hold perpetrators of anti-Muslim violence accountable as UPR adopted

Sri Lanka's ambassador to Geneva, Ravinatha Aryasinha today asserted that the government would ensure progress on key areas outlined in the UPR as it was adopted by the Council on Monday. 

Highlighting the attacks against Muslims in Kandy earlier this month, Mr Aryasinha said those responsible would be held to account. 

"We are determined to take action against all perpetrators of these incidents in accordance with the due process of the law. Victim compensation processes have already commenced; and arrests have been made as well," he told the Council. 

Read full statement here. Extract reproduced below: 

"In the 4 months that have passed since Sri Lanka's review in November last year, we have already made progress on the implementation of some of the recommendations.

-On 5 December 2017, Sri Lanka acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, and designated the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka as the National Preventive Mechanism. We have requested the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka to liaise with the Subcommittee to obtain the advice and technical expertise required for the effective and efficient operationalisation of the National Preventive Mechanism.

-Legislation to give effect locally, to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance was enacted by the passage of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance Bill in the Sri Lanka Parliament on 7 March 2018. This criminalises Enforced Disappearance.

-On the recommendations made by the Constitutional Council as per the Office on Missing Persons Act, the President appointed the Chairperson and Commissioners for the Office on Missing Persons on 28 February 2018, making the Office fully operational. At a meeting with the Chairperson and Commissioners on 28 February, the President assured them of the fullest support of the Government to ensure the effective functioning of the Office. We have circulated among delegations, the initial statement made by the Chairperson of the Office on Missing Persons on 12 March 2018. Sri Lanka Rupees 1.4 billion (approximately 9 million USD) has been allocated in the National Budget for 2018, for the Office on Missing Persons. The Constitutional Council, in its selection process, has ensured that the Chairperson and Commissioners represent a cross-section of society, with individuals who possess experience in human rights as activists, ex-public servants and professionals, as well as a family member of a missing person.

-Progress has been made in the drafting of new Counter Terrorism Legislation. We envisage a Counter Terrorism Act that conforms to human rights safeguards and other international standards and we expect the draft legislation to be gazetted for tabling in Parliament for consideration, once the established procedures including translation into local languages are completed, shortly.

The Cabinet of Ministers, on 6 March 2018, approved the formulation of legislation by the Legal Draftsman, for the establishment by law of an Office for Reparations. Once the draft legislation with translations into local languages is finalised, the draft Bill is expected to be gazetted shortly."

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