HAF Reacts to UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka

Washington, D.C. (October 1, 2015) -- A consensus resolution, ‘Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka,' jointly tabled by the U.S. and Sri Lanka and adopted today by United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), although not ideal, is an important step forward for the country, according to the Hindu American Foundation (HAF).

The resolution acknowledges some positive steps taken by the Sri Lankan government and makes significant recommendations for legal, security, and human rights reforms in the country. But, regrettably it diverges from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report on Sri Lanka.

Most notably, it fails to call for the creation of a hybrid judicial mechanism to address human rights abuses and violations of international law by all sides to the 26 year conflict in Sri Lanka, particularly during the period of 2002 to 2011. A hybrid mechanism would have been an acceptable compromise that would have allowed the Sri Lankan government to create an independent and impartial process domestically within Sri Lanka, but that simultaneously utilized international judges, prosecutors, and investigators. Instead, the process described in the resolution more closely resembles a largely domestic mechanism that minimizes the role of the international community.

Ultimately, whether any process will be credible and effective in achieving truth and justice for the people of Sri Lanka will depend primarily on the willingness and ability of the Sri Lankan government to carry through on its commitments for promoting reconciliation and accountability, and implement all recommended reforms.

The Foundation urges the OHCHR and the broader international community to monitor and report on the progress of the Sri Lankan government to ensure that those responsible for committing atrocities, whether high level government/military officials or leaders of the Tamil Tigers, are held liable for their actions. Similarly, HAF calls on the international community to work closely with all stakeholders in Sri Lanka to prevent further human rights abuses and help facilitate a lasting political settlement between the government and the Tamil minority.