UN HRC53: Core Group Statement on Sri Lanka

Rita FrenchDelivered by Rita French, UK Human Rights Ambassador, UN Human Rights Council, Geneva, June 20, 2023

Thank you, Mr President,

This statement is by the Sri Lanka Core Group comprising Canada, Malawi, Montenegro, North Macedonia, the UK and the United States.

We welcome Sri Lanka’s initial steps towards addressing concerns around land returns, long-term detentions and corruption.

These steps can provide a basis to begin a process to protect the rights of all Sri Lankans, from all ethnic and religious communities.

We remain concerned by the continued use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. We acknowledge an ongoing effort to replace the PTA and urge the Government to ensure that terrorism legislation is consistent with Sri Lanka’s international obligations.

We also call on the government to protect freedoms of expression and association.

As Sri Lanka takes forward its stated commitment to reconciliation, we stress the importance of transparency, accountability, inclusivity, and of building meaningfully on past work and recommendations that address the root causes of conflicts and impunity.

It is crucial that Sri Lanka safeguards its representative democracy by maintaining voters’ confidence in the country’s electoral systems and ensuring the independence of its institutions and commissions.

We call on Sri Lanka to work with the High Commissioner and his office and remain ready to support Sri Lanka in addressing HRC resolution 51/1.

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