Human Rights Council: Statement on the situation of human rights in Sri Lanka


11 September 2023. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Center for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) made a statement for the Interactive Dialogue with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the situation of human rights in Sri Lanka. Read the oral statement below.

UN Human Rights Council – 54th Session

Item 2: Interactive Dialogue with OHCHR on Sri Lanka

11 September 2023

Madam Vice-President,

FIDH and its partner organization Center for Human Rights and Development welcome the OHCHR report on Sri Lanka.

We are concerned over recent developments in Sri Lanka, which affect particularly Tamil communities in the Northern and Eastern provinces of the country.

In the absence of a judicial mechanism, the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission proposed by the government will inevitably fail to establish any accountability for past crimes. It could also lead to re-traumatization, threats, and exhaustion of victims appearing before yet another commission - the fourth over the past 20 years. Victim families and the families of the disappeared vehemently oppose the establishment of another Commission and have expressed their objection by way of public statements and declarations. Victims have lost trust and confidence in such processes, as recommendations made by previous commission have not been implemented, resulting in little or no change on the ground.

We are also concerned by the proclamation of several historical places of worship of Tamils as archaeological sites in the Northern and Eastern provinces and by the installation of Buddhist monuments in such areas, in contravention of court orders. We urge the government to revise the process, including by providing sufficient notice to stakeholders, ensuring adequate consultations with affected communities, using scientific methods for proclaiming archaeological sites, and abiding by court orders.

We also express concern over the proposed new Anti-Terrorism Bill, which include several provisions inconsistent with international standards.

We urge the Council to continue monitoring the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

Thank you.

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