UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet today said that she was concerned that the terrorist attacks two months ago in Sri Lanka have fuelled increasing tensions.
“The lack of a unified approach between the President and the Government regarding key human rights concerns risks adverse impact on the effectiveness of the security forces in ensuring safety and protection for all,” she said making her opening statement at the 41st session of the Human Rights Council.
She also said that she was disturbed by reports of anti-Muslim attacks; recent statements by some religious leaders inciting violence. “I am disturbed by reports of anti-Muslim attacks; recent statements by some religious leaders inciting violence constitute worrying early warning indicators that should be addressed. While some counter-terrorism measures are warranted, the state of emergency should be of minimal duration, and a priority should be given to bringing political, religious and other community leaders together to address root causes of all forms of violence and discrimination.”
“In this context, I express my support to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka for its commendable and courageous role,” she said.
She further said: “We must be more vigilant in the face of the hatred and violent extremism which feed off each other. But we need to act both with great urgency and great care. As the new UN Strategy and Action Plan on Hate Speech emphasises, the misuse of excessively broad restrictions on freedom of speech may lead to silencing critics and the intensification of attacks on the press and human rights advocates.”