Sri Lanka Must Abide By International Human Rights Standards
Joint Press Release by British Tamil Forum, Canadian Tamil Forum & US Tamil Political Action Council, Geneva, November 1, 2012
In English & French
Geneva, SWITZERLAND – The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is set
to review Sri Lanka’s Human Rights record today as part of its Universal Periodic
Review. This will be the second cycle of a peer review process of the UNHRC, which
was instituted in 2008. A total of 46 Non-Governmental Organizations have submitted
reports on all aspects of human rights violations in the country.
Sri Lanka’s response, contained in its National Report released on August 10th, 2012,
illustrates its abysmal lack of progress towards implementing recommendations made by
its peer states in 2008. The ground reality in Sri Lanka is one of ongoing militarization,
enforced disappearances, torture, violence against women and a lack of independence of
media and human rights institutions, particularly in the Northern and Eastern regions.
“Sri Lanka has failed miserably in protecting the human rights of its citizens, despite its
claims of moving forward,” stated Dr. Yaso Natkunam speaking for the United States
Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC), British Tamils Forum (BTF), and the
Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC).
Of 26 voluntary commitments maden i 2008, Sri Lanka has fulfilled just two. Similarly,
out of 45 accepted recommendations, only 5 have been implemented. Continuing its
deteriorating human rights record, as of May 2009 Sri Lanka stands accused of war
crimes, crimes against humanity, and gross violations of human rights. Despite this
record, the Sri Lankan government is mounting a vigorous campaign to circumvent its
international obligations towards protecting human rights.
“The universality of human rights is undermined when a country like Sri Lanka tramples
on the rights of its citizens, absolves itself of its responsibilities, and then deliberately
misleads the international community on its offences,” concluded Dr. Natkunam. The
Human Rights Council must act decisively to ensure that member states adhere to their
human rights obligations.
For Media Inquiries, please contact:
Geneva – 41 (0) 76 627 82 38
BTF, United Kingdom – 44 79 27 02 3912
CTC, Canada – 905 791 7034
USTPAC, United States – 202 595 3123