Sri Lanka’s national commitment and resolve to make continued progress towards reconciliation, development and protection and promotion of human rights remain strong despite constraints, the country told the UN Human Rights Council.
Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Dayani Mendis said thus making a statement to the ongoing 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Sri Lanka’s statement was made in reference to the follow-up report of the working group on enforced or involuntary disappearances on the implementation of the recommendations made after its visit to Sri Lanka in 2015.
Deputy Permanent Representative Mendis said Sri Lanka’s decision to sign the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in December 2015, less than one month after the working group’s visit, was a salient point of the progress made by Sri Lanka within a short time span of only four years.
“Other points include entering into an agreement with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the operationalisation of the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) and the Office for Reparations and the issuance of Certificates of Absence in lieu of death certificates enabling the families of the disappeared to access certain facilities that would be in the name of the disappeared,” she said.
She said in accordance with the OMP’s recommendation in its interim report, the government has approved the grant of a monthly allowance of Rs.6,000 for families of the missing with a certificate of absence, from October 2019.
“A sum of Rs.500 million is to be allocated in the 2019 Budget to support families of the missing and disappeared persons,” she said.
Meanwhile, she said the Constitution of Sri Lanka which comprises the 19th Amendment and the laws of the country, inform and underpin actions and decisions of the different arms of the State. She also said the rule of law has been further strengthened by the recent decisions of the higher judiciary.
“As we proceed on our path, we urge this Council to accord due recognition to these gains made by Sri Lanka amidst numerous challenges, including a spate of terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of many hundreds of innocent Sri Lankans as well as foreigners on Easter Sunday this year and that has compelled Sri Lanka to realign its immediate priorities. It is important to underscore, however, Sri Lanka’s commitment to principles enabling the proliferation and protection of human rights for all its citizens, even as we face numerous challenges in the post-Easter Sunday context,” Deputy Permanent Representative Mendis said.