Statement of Introduction by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Paula Schriefer | Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs | Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 25th Human Rights Council
Human Rights Council 25th Session
Geneva, March 27, 2014
Thank you, Mr. President.
On behalf of the core group sponsors Mauritius, Macedonia, Montenegro, and the United Kingdom, the United States is pleased to introduce for adoption Resolution L.1/rev.1 on “Promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka.”
This resolution has 42 co-sponsors*. We thank all delegations for their constructive participation in the negotiations to produce this balanced text.
As has been clearly demonstrated in the High Commissioner’s reporting over the last two years, the human rights situation in Sri Lanka continues to deteriorate, despite some areas of limited progress. The resolution highlights this Council’s growing concern over persistent sexual and gender-based violence; enforced disappearances; extrajudicial killings; torture; violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly; threats to judicial independence and the rule of law; as well as intimidation of and reprisals against human rights defenders, members of civil society, lawyers and journalists. It also expresses alarm over increasing attacks against members of religious minority groups, including Muslims, Christians, and Hindus.
At the same time, the international community has become increasingly concerned by the continued lack of progress in achieving reconciliation, justice, and accountability for serious allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
In her latest report, the High Commissioner called for an international inquiry mechanism to address these issues in the absence of a credible national process with tangible results. In response to that call, and in order to promote justice, reconciliation, and accountability in Sri Lanka, this resolution requests that the Office of the High Commissioner undertake, with assistance from relevant experts and special procedures, a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period covered by the report of the Government’s own Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). It also requests OHCHR to continue to monitor, assess, and report on the current human rights situation in Sri Lanka, including any relevant national processes.
This Council has urged the Government of Sri Lanka to accept technical assistance from OHCHR and relevant special procedures in order to address these concerns, but unfortunately the Government has chosen not to accept that assistance. The resolution continues to encourage that cooperation, and it also reiterates this Council’s call on the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the constructive recommendations in Sri Lanka’s own LLRC report, and to hold accountable those responsible for violations.
The sponsors of this resolution are confident that continued attention by the Council will help to promote reconciliation, justice, and accountability for the people of Sri Lanka. We therefore urge the Council to adoption this resolution.