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Tamil CSOs write to UNHRC Chief
Published Date: 01/02/2019 (Friday)

Several civil society groups, mainly from the North and East and members of war victims’ associations, have written to the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (HCHR) Michelle Bachelet Jeria that the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) 30/1 Resolution has been proactively and deliberately abandoned by the Sri Lankan State.

They noted that given the current political situation in Sri Lanka, particularly in the aftermath of the October 2018 Constitutional coup, even those elements who championed the Resolution within the Sri Lankan Government have now chosen to go silent in the face impending Elections.

They urged the UNHRC to have programmatic interventions as relevant for consideration at the UNHRC session in March 2019.

They plead to have a Mandate on the Committee on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances to investigate enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka and if found that Sri Lanka has refused to deal with the impunity on the subject, to bring the matter to the attention of the General Assembly through the Secretary General.

“The Government appointed a Consultation Task Force, which held islandwide consultations to recommend reconciliation mechanisms. Some of the recommendations made in this report exhibited the potential for political will within the Government to genuinely work towards political change and reconciliation. It particularly endorsed the call for a hybrid mechanism as suggested in the OHCHR report and Resolution 30/1 of 2015. However, the report was consciously and deliberately side-lined by the Government when designing its transitional justice mechanisms.

The Government’s prosecutorial arm, the Attorney General’s Department continues to appear for alleged perpetrators of the crime of enforced disappearance in habeas corpus cases. The Government has failed to win the confidence of the victims in establishing this mechanism. The mothers of the disappeared for a long time now have been asking to release a list of all those who surrendered to the Armed Forces during the last few days of the war and all those who have been kept in detention since 1983. The President promised to release this list in June 2017 but there has been no progress whatsoever,” the letter states.

“Other mechanisms such as the appointment of a Special Prosecutor and the establishment of a Special Judicial Mechanism, to the extent that we are aware, are not even being discussed.”

They also noted that the progress on the new Constitution is unclear at the moment.

Source: Ceylon Today

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