Geneva, 12 February 2013 - Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on advice and technical assistance for the Government of Sri Lanka on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka has been made public prior to the UNHRC’s 22nd Session which opens on 25 February.
The High Commissioner in this report recommends that the Government of Sri Lanka:
(a) Give positive consideration to the offers of assistance made in her letter dated 26 November 2012, in particular expertise in:
(i) The establishment of a truth-seeking mechanism as an integral part of a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to transitional justice;
(ii) Criminal and forensic investigations to review relevant case files and advise on additional lines of inquiry to resolve outstanding cases in accordance with international standards;
(iii) Drafting laws dealing with witness and victim protection, the right to information, the criminalization of enforced disappearances and the revision of existing laws to bring them into line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
(iv) Strengthening and ensuring the independence of national institutions;
(v) The development of a national reparations policy in line with international standards;
(b) Invite special procedures mandate holders with outstanding requests to make country visits, particularly those who have offered assistance pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 19/2;
(c) Hold public and inclusive consultations on the national plan of action for implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission with a view to revising and expanding its scope and clarifying commitments and responsibilities;
(d) Revisit and implement the Commission’s recommendation on appointing a special commissioner of investigation into disappearances, and extend tracing programmes to include all missing persons;
(e) Open proceedings of military courts of inquiry and future trials of LTTE detainees to independent observers to increase public confidence, and allow proceedings to be evaluated in line with international standards;
(f) Publish the final report of the presidential commission of inquiry 2006 to allow the evidence gathered to be evaluated and accept international assistance to resolve outstanding cases;
(g) Take further steps in demilitarization and devolution to involve minority communities fully in decision-making processes;
(h) Engage civil society and minority community representatives in dialogue on appropriate forms of commemoration and memorialization that will advance inclusion and reconciliation.
The High Commissioner noted the views expressed by many stakeholders in Sri Lanka, including prominent community leaders, that the attention paid by the Human Rights Council to issues of accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka had helped to create space for debate, and catalyzed positive steps forward, however limited at this stage. The High Commissioner encourages the Council to continue its engagement and build on this momentum. In this regard, she reaffirms her long-standing call for an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, which could also monitor any domestic accountability process.