(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Welcoming the update on Sri Lanka by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Kingdom called on the Sri Lankan government to engage constructively with the recommendations in resolution 46/1 and to co-operate with the Office of the High Commissioner.
The UK’s Global Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French delivering a statement at the UNHRC 49th session in Geneva on Monday, noted with regret that there have been setbacks in several emblematic human rights cases in Sri Lanka.
The Ambassador for Human Rights said the UK shares High Commissioner’s concerns regarding the continued lack of Sri Lanka’s progress on accountability and regrets that there have been setbacks in several emblematic human rights cases.
Welcoming the recent releases on bail of Ahnaf Jazeem and Hejaaz Hizbullah as a positive first step, the UK said although they acknowledge initial reforms of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, these do not go far enough.
Whilst acknowledging the NGO Secretariat move to the Foreign Ministry, the UK expressed concerns around surveillance and harassment of civil society, and militarization of civilian governmental functions. “The appointment of an individual, named in a key emblematic case, to the post of Provincial Governor, is particularly worrying,” the envoy said.
“Whilst we acknowledge ongoing work in Government institutions on reparations and missing persons, it is crucial this is accompanied by a comprehensive reconciliation and accountability process,” she added.
The UK noted with concern that minority communities are facing increased marginalization, with allegations of land grabs in the North and East of the country. “We call on the Government of Sri Lanka to engage constructively with the recommendations in resolution 46/1 and to co-operate with your Office,” the UK Ambassador said.