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Zeid meets with Sri Lanka’s leaders to reaffirm human rights commitments

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein met with Sri Lanka’s prime minister and president earlier today, to discuss the Sri Lankan governments commitment towards human rights.

Speaking shortly after his meetings, Mr Hussein noted fears from Tamils in the North-East that the government “may be wavering on its human rights commitments.

“I was therefore reassured this morning to hear both the President and the Prime Minister state their firm conviction in this regard,” said the High Commissioner.

Mr Hussein met with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and the government’s ambassador the UN Human Rights Council Ravinatha Aryasinha, with the President’s Media Division reporting “cordial discussions on the current developments in Sri Lanka” were held.

In recent weeks Mr Sirisena has repeatedly affirmed that his government would not allow international involvement in an accountability mechanism to tackle abuses committed during the final stages of the armed conflict, where tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were slaughtered.

The High Commissioner also met with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had recently told a gathering in Jaffna that the tens of thousands of people missing across the North-East were “probably dead”.

Mr Hussein noted afterwards that “the Prime Minister’s recent statement that nearly all the disappeared persons are dead has created great distress among their families, who until then still had hope”.

“This statement must be followed by rapid action to identify precisely who is still alive and who has died or been killed, properly account for their deaths — including whether or not they were unlawful — identify the location of their remains, and provide redress.”

See more of the High Commissioner’s comments in our post:

UN Rights Chief stresses importance of international participation in accountability and de-militarisation (09 Feb 2016)

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