More Worries Regarding Sri Lanka's Lack of Progress

A group of international human rights organizations has recently penned an open letter to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein. The letter expresses a range of concerns regarding Sri Lanka's compliance with a U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution that the government co-sponsored last October.

Here's one paragraph:

While the [Sri Lankan] government's assurances on progress have been plentiful its performance on the ground has been mixed and not befitting expectations outlined in your report and in the resolution as well as those of victims and people on the ground. There have been some positive developments on international cooperation such as the government's recent decision to ratify the Convention against Enforced Disappearances and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the extension of standing invitations to Special Procedures and the visit of a number of Special Procedures, your own visit and that of other UN officials.

Here's another paragraph:

At the same time there have been mixed signals on the government's commitments made through the October [HRC] resolution, at the highest level of the government. There have been distressing reports on the ongoing use of arrests under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) instead of the regular criminal code. The PTA is a draconian law consistently condemned by UN bodies and officials and which the government had pledged to repeal as part of its October commitment. Repealing the PTA and dealing with the outstanding cases of those still detained under the law should be a foremost priority.

The HRC's 32nd second session remains ongoing and the high commissioner will deliver an important oral update pertaining to Sri Lanka's compliance with the previously mentioned resolution on June 29. Some diplomatic language is expected, but let's hope the high commissioner is also open and honest about the coalition government's lack of progress. It has become increasingly difficult to defend the new administration's prevarication.