Diplomatic Community Briefed on Human Rights Situation in Sri Lanka ahead of the Forthcoming UNHRC Session 

Diplomatic Community Briefed on Human Rights Situation in Sri Lanka ahead of the Forthcoming UNHRC Session 
Photo: Tamil Guardian, 2021


Sarah Thanawala

Sri Lanka and Human Rights Researcher, 

Global Human Rights Defence.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Professor G.L. Peiris familiarised the diplomatic community in Colombo with the progress in the human rights situation (Tamil Guardian, 2022). The briefing took place in anticipation of the 49th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to be held in Geneva, commencing in February 2022 (Economy Next, 2022). Peiris informed about the positive steps taken toward “accountability, restorative justice and meaningful reconciliation” (Economy Next, 2022). Among the important developments, the approved amendments in the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) were highlighted, including - repealing sections that restrict freedom of expression, inserting provisions on the prevention of torture, allowing bail to long-term detainees (Economy Next, 2022). Peiris briefed on the inclusion of Tamil and Mulsim representatives to the Presidential Task Force on Archaeological Heritage Management  (Economy Next, 2022). On the issue of the arrest of Hejaaz Hizbullah, the Minister informed of the potential granting of bail  (Economy Next, 2022). 

Despite the positive developments, Sri Lanka continues to violate the human rights standards in multiple areas such as - arbitrary arrests and assault of dissenters from minority communities, the impunity enjoyed by senior officials, appointing a controversial monk to head the task force for the ‘One Country, One Law’ project (Economy Next, 2022). The UNHRC session represents an important step by the international community in holding Sri Lanka accountable for its rampant human rights violations. 

Sources and further reading:

Economy Next (2022, January 28). Sri Lanka foreign minister briefs diplomats ahead of tough UNHRC session. Economy Next. https://economynext.com/sri-lanka-foreign-minister-briefs-diplomats-ahead-of-tough-unhrc-session-89963/ 

Tamil Guardian (2022, January 27). Sri Lanka briefs diplomatic community ahead of key Geneva session. Tamil Guardian. https://colombogazette.com/2022/01/27/sri-lanka-briefs-diplomatic-community-ahead-of-key-geneva-session/