US to keep Sri Lanka on HR agenda beyond March 2019

The United States is to keep Sri Lanka on the human rights agenda beyond March 2019, sources told the Colombo Gazette.

 Alice G. Wells, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the US State Department has told a Tamil National Alliance and Global Tamil Forum delegation last week that the US will look to keep Sri Lanka on the agenda after next March, the Colombo Gazette learns.

The move comes after the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) last week expressed “much regret” over the slow progress in establishing transitional justice mechanisms in Sri Lanka.

Kate Gilmore, the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights told the UN Human Rights Council last week that in the absence of concrete results or publicly available drafts of legislation, it seems doubtful that the transitional justice agenda committed to by the Government under the Council’s resolution 30/1 could be fully implemented before the next report of OHCHR in March 2019.

  “We also regret that the commissioners of the Office of Missing Persons were only recently appointed, 20 months after the adoption of the legislation. Further there has been insufficient progress in returning land occupied by the military. Trust will not be rebuilt if land grabbing continues, nor without independent mechanisms established to determine fair compensations for land reserved for security reasons,” she said.
 In light of the gravity of the matters mentioned and given the import role that the Council has played to date, Gilmore said the High Commissioner strongly advises that the Council continue to focus its attention on the human rights of the people of Sri Lanka and  in particular on the processes in place for accountability and reconciliation. (Colombo Gazette)

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