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UN committee denies judging Sri Lanka

2014 Oct 08

The UN Human Rights Committee today denied the assumption that it was attempting to pass judgment on Sri Lanka.

Chairman of the UN Human Rights Committee Sir Nigel Rodley said that the Committee was not in the business of judging countries and comparing them.

He said that the UN Human Rights Committee understands that there was a difficult conflict in Sri Lanka but that there still continues to be impunity and other concerns in the country.

Sir Nigel Rodley expressed these views as the UN Human Rights Committee wrapped up its two day review on Sri Lanka today in Geneva.

With the end of the review Sri Lanka has 48 hours to submit written clarifications on some of the issues raised by the committee.

Speaking earlier, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Ravinatha Aryasinha said that he felt Sri Lanka was being judged, particularly on the disappearances commission and its extended mandate.

He insisted that the disappearances commission, appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, should be allowed to go about its work.

In response to one concern raised today that Tamils are being actively denied the chance to commemorate their dead on Mullivaikal day, Ambassador Aryasinha responded that it is not appropriate to commemorate terrorists and their leaders.

Aryasinha also noted that the army refrained from firing on Tamil citizens during the last phase of the war. He said that that the army is a ‘well-disciplined military force’ that fully respects humanitarian law.

He said the army has been unfairly accused but an army inquiry continues to investigate the unsubstantiated allegations.

The Sri Lankan delegation also rejected the assertion that journalists and human rights defenders are not permitted to express themselves freely in the country.

“Freedom of expression and assembly are fully respected, and in cases where there is an infringement, remedies are available,” the Sri Lankan delegation said today.

Deputy Solicitor General, Nerin Pulle, speaking during the review on Sri Lanka today, asserted that Sri Lanka has a zero tolerance policy on torture.

The UN Human Rights Committee today noted that as the war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009 one would expect the human rights situation to have improved and not get worse.

The UN Human Rights Committee also noted that the 18th amendment is a major stumbling block for human rights in Sri Lanka.

The 112th session of the Human Rights Committee is being held at the United Nations Office at Geneva from 7 to 31 October with Sri Lanka discussed yesterday and today.

The UN Human Rights Committee reviewed Sri Lanka’s respect for rights enshrined in the key human rights treaty: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

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