UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said on Monday the absence of credible action in Sri Lanka to ensure accountability for alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws has made the exercise of universal jurisdiction even more necessary.
In his address to the 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on human rights concerns around the world, Prince Zeid urged the Sri Lankan Government to swiftly operationalize the Office of Missing Persons (OMP).
“The Government should also move faster on other essential confidence-building measures such as the release of land occupied by the military and resolving long-pending cases registered under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). I repeat my request for the PTA to be replaced with a new law in line with international human rights standards,” he said.
Prince Zeid said in the North, protests by victims indicate their growing frustration over the slow pace of reforms.
He said he encouraged the Government to act on its commitment in Resolution 30/1 to establish transitional justice mechanisms and to establish a clear timeline and benchmarks for the implementation of these and other commitments.
“This should not be viewed by the Government as a box-ticking exercise to placate the Council, but as an essential undertaking to address the rights of all its people,” Prince Zeid said.