ICJ condemns serious human rights violations in Sri Lanka and Tunisia (UN Statement)

The ICJ addressed the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today to deplore the serious human rights violations, and attacks on the rule of law and civic space in Sri Lanka and Tunisia, during a debate on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ annual report.

The statement read as follows:

“Mr. High Commissioner,

The ICJ welcomes your annual report and the oral update on Sri Lanka.

In Sri Lanka, we deplore the increased arbitrary surveillance and harassment of human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, minority politicians and activists. Crackdowns on peaceful protests, intimidation of memorialization events and the abuse of the ICCPR Act are part of a shrinking space for freedom of expression and assembly. Proposed legislation such as the anti-terrorism Bill, and a broadcasting regulatory commission Bill with powers to suspend media licenses would serve to further undermine human rights.

Near total impunity continues from the refusal to ensure accountability for crimes under international law, including from the conflict era, and the lack of progress by existing domestic accountability mechanisms.

High Commissioner, what actions should the Sri Lankan Government take to demonstrate compliance with its international obligations?

In Tunisia, the ICJ condemns the ongoing crackdown on peaceful political opposition and freedom of expression. We have documented numerous instances of arbitrary arrest, detention and prosecution of critics, journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders – increasingly reliant on spurious charges of “terrorism” – and use of military courts to try civilians, systematic interference by the executive with the judiciary and failure to respect fair trial right guarantees.

The ICJ calls upon this Council and its Member States to urge the Tunisian authorities to comply with their obligations under international human rights law and re-establish the rule of law in the country.

I thank you.”



Sandra Epal-Ratjen, ICJ Main UN Representative and Senior Legal Adviser, e: sandra.epal@icj.org 

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