Many countries have supported the draft UN human rights council resolution on Sri Lanka, strengthening Colombo’s request for more time to address the issue of accountability over the alleged war crimes committed during the civil war, civil society groups here have said. The draft text, ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’, had Montenegro, Macedonia, the UK, Northern Ireland and the US as its main sponsors.
Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Japan and Norway have now extended support to the draft text. Sri Lanka is a co-sponsor of the resolution. The follow-up draft resolution on Sri Lanka was submitted to the UNHRC before the deadline for submissions ended last week. The support strengthens Sri Lanka’s request for more time to address the issue on accountability over the conflict, according to local civil society groups.
The resolution calls on the UNHRC to continue to assess progress on the implementation of its recommendations and other processes related to reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. It also calls to present a written update to the UNHRC at its 37th session, and a comprehensive report followed by discussion on the implementation of resolution 30/1 at its 40th session.
Sri Lanka was granted 18 months by a UNHRC resolution in October 2015 to initiate a credible investigation into the nearly three-decades long civil war with the LTTE. The country has sought more time to deliver on accountability mechanism.
It braces for a two-year breather despite pressures from the Tamils for more stringent action from the UNHRC. The country faces criticism for dragging its feet on the accountability mechanism to try both government troops and the LTTE for alleged war crimes during the last phase of the military conflict that ended in 2009.
According to the UN, up to 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces during former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime that brought an end to the conflict.
Earlier this month, the UNHRC had criticised Sri Lanka’s “slow” progress in addressing its wartime past and reiterated its earlier call for hybrid court of international and local judges to investigate allegations of rights violations.