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Far-reaching accountability process absolutely necessary: OHCHR

2014 Sep 26

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says that a more fundamental and far-reaching accountability process, addressing both past and ongoing violations, is absolutely necessary to achieve reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

The OHCHR in its oral update on the investigation on Sri Lanka, which will be formally communicated to the UN Human Rights Council at its ongoing regular session on Wednesday, highlights the importance of the UNHRC’s continued attention to both the current human rights situation in Sri Lanka, as well as efforts to ensure accountability and reconciliation for human rights violations alleged to have occurred during the conflict.

“Notwithstanding the commendable progress the Sri Lankan Government has made in resettlement and reconstruction, the High Commissioner firmly believes that a more fundamental and far-reaching accountability process in Sri Lanka, addressing both past and ongoing violations, is absolutely necessary for Sri Lankans to come to terms with their past, end impunity, achieve reconciliation between communities and strengthen the rule of law,” it said.

The update says that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, intends the comprehensive investigation mandated by the UNHRC and being undertaken by OHCHR to make an important contribution in this regard.  

“He therefore appeals once again to the Sri Lankan authorities to cooperate fully with the investigation, as well as with the relevant Special Procedures mandate holders, in the long-term interests of all Sri Lankans,” it said.

He also urges the Government to seize the opportunity presented by the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission to address many root causes and structural issues that contributed to the conflict, and lay the basis for longer-term reconciliation.

In its resolution A/HRC/25/1 adopted in March 2014 on “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka”, the United Nations Human Rights Council had requested the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to “undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka.”

The Council requested the High Commissioner to present an oral update at its twenty-seventh session and a comprehensive report on the investigations at its twenty-eighth session.

In accordance with this mandate, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights established the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL), based in Geneva.

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