Sri Lanka: UN must pursue and enhance accountability for crimes under international law

The ICJ called today on the UN Human Rights Council to continue acting to ensure acountability, in particular for crimes under international law, in Sri Lanka.

The statement reads as follows:

“Mr. President,

The ICJ welcomes the detailed report of the OHCHR.

As observed in the report, Sri Lanka’s human rights situation has worsened in the recent months with further entrenchment of a culture of impunity. Sri Lankan authorities maintain their deep-rooted and longstanding inability and unwillingness to pursue accountability, particularly for crimes under international law.

The ICJ notes the OHCHR recommendation that the Sri Lanka Government undertake a broad -based consultative process to advance constitutional reforms, but highlights that previous such consultations had been ineffective due to lack of political will by successive governments.

Despite promises to impose a de-facto moratorium on the use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), authorities rampantly use it to arrest and intimidate human rights defenders and activists involved in anti-Government protests. The PTA allows for arbitrary and indefinite deprivation of liberty of any individuals suspected of a wide range of ill-defined activities.

Frequent declarations of states of emergency have facilitated the authorities in unlawfully restricting human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and have emboldened security forces to flout due process guarantees.

The ICJ calls upon Sri Lanka to adhere to its commitments made to UN human rights mechanisms, including this Council, to establish an effective accountability mechanism and repeal the PTA.

I thank you.”


Massimo Frigo, ICJ UN Representative, e: massimo.frigo(a), t: +41797499949

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