Sri Lanka situation fragile, called for accountability- UNHRC

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Presenting a report on SriLanka, acting High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Nashif told the Human Rights Council that the situation here was fragile and called for accountability.

The report says Sri Lanka’s new Government should embark on a national dialogue to advance human rights and reconciliation.

It called for accountability and deeper institutional reforms to prevent a recurrence of past violations.

The report says Sri Lanka is at critical juncture in its political life, and is in the midst of a serious economic crisis which has severely impacted the human rights of all communities and people of all walks of life.

This has spurred broad-based demands by Sri Lankans from all communities for deeper reforms and accountability, and gives the Government a fresh opportunity to steer the country on a new path. For sustainable improvements to take place, however, it is vital to recognise and address the underlying factors which have contributed to the economic crisis, including embedded impunity for past and present human rights violations, economic crimes and endemic corruption.

“Fundamental changes will be required to address the current challenges and to avoid repetition of the human rights violations of the past,” says the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The report calls on the Government to immediately end the reliance on draconian security laws and crackdowns on peaceful protest, reverse the drift towards militarisation and show renewed commitment to, and deliver on, security sector reform and ending impunity.

While the security forces recently showed considerable restraint in response to mass protests, the Government has since taken a harder line approach, arresting some student leaders under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and violently suppressing peaceful protests.

A heavily militarised environment and culture of surveillance also continues in the north and east of the country. (Kelum Bandara)

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