Obhrai Welcomes Adoption of Resolution on Sri Lanka at UN Human Rights Council

March 27, 2014 - The Honourable Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights, today issued the following statement:

“Canada welcomes the adoption today of a resolution by the UN Human Rights Council that reiterates the need for the Government of Sri Lanka to address outstanding issues of reconciliation and accountability and serious human rights violations and abuses.

“I welcome the Council’s call for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes committed by both parties in Sri Lanka from 2002 to 2009.

“Canada urges Sri Lanka to maintain its collaboration with the Council and to engage constructively with the follow-up to and implementation of the recommendations contained in the resolution to lay the groundwork for sustainable peace, prosperity and security for all Sri Lankans.”

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Sri Lanka

The resolution—led by the United States, with Montenegro, Mauritius, Macedonia and the United Kingdom, and with a total of 41 co-sponsors, including Canada—acknowledges the progress made by the Government of Sri Lanka in rebuilding infrastructure, demining and resettling the majority of internally displaced persons. At the same time, it notes that considerable work lies ahead in the areas of justice, reconciliation, land use and ownership, and the resumption of livelihoods.

Domestic investigative mechanisms since the end of the conflict in 2009 have regrettably not demonstrated their independence and effectiveness, nor satisfied resounding calls for truth and justice. The resolution therefore requests that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.

The Human Rights Council approved today’s resolution, with 23 countries supporting the resolution, 12 countries voting against and 12 abstaining.