UN passes resolution against Sri Lanka’s human rights record

The UN’s Human Rights Council has passed a resolution highly critical of Sri Lanka’s record. Its strongest passage voices concern at reports of continuing violations. It expresses concern at reports of enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, torture, threats to the rule of law, religious discrimination and intimidation of civil society activists and journalists. The resolution encourages Sri Lanka to conduct an independent and credible investigation into alleged war crimes. Correspondents say the US-sponsored resolution has been watered down compared with earlier drafts. Although, according to BBC’s Charles Haviland in Colombo, the draft that was up for debate is much milder than an earlier one, this resolution is more detailed, and tougher than last year’s. It suggests that Sri Lanka set up a « truth-seeking mechanism » on abuses and calls for an investigation, but it does not demand an international one. It also asks Colombo to extend invitations to some of the UN’s special rapporteurs, although it deleted the first draft’s reference to their portfolios. Two local rights activists welcomed the resolution. One called it « forward-looking », saying the clause on the rapporteurs would entail « a bit more monitoring ». Another said it would at least give hope to families of victims of rights abuses, pointing out that the government responded to the 2012 resolution by setting out a plan for the implementation of its war commission’s recommendations – although Ms Pillay has said this is full of gaps. Amnesty International said that while the resolution successfully highlighted rights violations, it failed to establish an independent and international investigation into the conflict. This article is an excerpt from the BBC News’ last update (21.3.2013): more information on this can be found on http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21873551

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