Zeid tells UNHRC next few months important for Sri Lanka

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein today told the UN Human Rights Council that the next few months will be important for Sri Lanka.

Addressing the Council during its 31st session after submitting his annual report,  Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that Sri Lanka is on its own journey towards accountability, reconciliation and durable peace.

He said that important steps have been taken to reform the Constitution, revive independent institutions, and restore an environment for free expression and debate.

“Powerful symbolic gestures of reconciliation have been made, for instance singing the national anthem in Tamil – although other steps, such as the release of land held by the military, reviewing the cases of security detainees, and resolving the issue of disappearances, need to move forward faster,” he added.

The High Commissioner said that the next months will be important, as the Government embarks on national consultations for the design of a comprehensive transitional justice process to implement fully the Council’s resolution.

He said that it will be very important that this takes place in an environment free of surveillance and intimidation, so the voices of victims can be heard. Reports of violations must be promptly investigated and addressed.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said he looks forward to reporting to the Council further on the progress in Sri Lanka at the June session. (Colombo Gazette)