Sri Lanka: Transitional Justice Mechanisms in Sri Lanka and the role of the OHCHR (UN Statement)

The ICJ today addressed the UN Human Rights Council on the need for a time-bound implementation plan, developed with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, for Sri Lanka to implement its commitments and obligations on transitional justice.

The statement, delivered during an interactive dialogue with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on her annual report, read as follows:

“Madame High Commissioner,

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) appreciates the efforts undertaken by the OHCHR in advancing transitional justice in Sri Lanka, mentioned in paragraph 69 of your report.

Any progress made by Sri Lanka, especially in relation to the implementation of transitional justice mechanisms under Resolution 30/1, albeit slow and wholly insufficient, has been primarily due to the continued engagement of the Council, OHCHR and international community. Therefore, keeping Sri Lanka on the agenda of the Council is paramount to ensure progress on all remaining commitments set out in Resolution 30/1.

As the Council is poised to provide Sri Lanka with an extension of two years to fulfill its commitments under Resolution 30/1, ICJ considers the expeditious development of a time-bound implementation plan with a deadline for delivery as essential. It is also pertinent that the implementation process is not a mere procedural exercise, but holistic and contextually appropriate.

At present, it appears that women are largely excluded from meaningfully participating in transitional justice processes, despite having been at the forefront in demanding truth and justice. Even mechanisms that have been put in place so far lack a comprehensive gender strategy. It is imperative that problems faced by women during and in the aftermath of the conflict are effectively identified and addressed in order to ensure that they are not left behind as the country seeks to move forward. The OHCHR with its expertise and experience in the field is well-placed to provide the necessary advice and technical assistance, especially in relation to matters that often get ignored or marginalized.

Madam High Commissioner, how would you see OHCHR fulfilling its role in relation to the development of the time-bound implementation plan and the due accomplishment of all remaining commitments made under Resolution 30/1?”

The statement can be downloaded in PDF format here: HRC40-OralStatement-IDwHCitem2-2019

The oral statement follows a joint open letter from NGOs, calling for such a plan, here.

The ICJ earlier submitted a written statement on Sri Lanka, available here.

AdvocacyNon-legal submissions