Geneva, SWITZERLAND – On November 1st, 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will review Sri Lanka’s Human Rights record 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.
“Sri Lanka has failed miserably in protecting the human rights of its citizens, despite its claims of moving forward,” stated Dr. Yaso Natkunam Spokeswoman for the United States Tamil Political Action Committee, British Tamils Forum, and the Canadian Tamil Congress.
Of 26 voluntary commitments made in 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 responsibility, and then deliberately misleads the international community on its offences”, concluded Dr. Natkunam. The Human Rights Council must act decisively to ensure that human rights are upheld around the world.