India, Spain and Benin have been assigned by United Nations Human Rights Chief Navaneetham Pillay to assess the human rights situation in Sri Lanka at the November Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The government is reportedly perturbed over Ms. Pillay’s decision because these countries were among those which voted in favour of the US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka in March this year.
The resolution called for the implementation of the recommendations by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and urged the Sri Lankan government to address accountability issues during the last stages of the war.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is expected to submit its report to Ms. Pillay during its sessions in March next year with regard to the progress made by Sri Lanka in addressing matters mentioned in the resolution.
Sri Lanka’s HR situation will be assessed at the 14th UPR to be held between October 22 and November 25. The UPR is a mechanism set up by the United Nations to review human rights practices in member countries once every four years. It is a voluntary process, and therefore, decisions taken are not referred for action by any UN body.
The External Affairs Minister, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and NGOs have submitted three separate reports to be considered at the UPR.
Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission Chief Pratiba Mahanama said Sri Lanka had made headway in promoting human rights and addressing humanitarian issues. He said 52 aspects were highlighted at the previous UPR on Sri Lanka and 25 of them were accepted by Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission.
“The presidential secretary said most of the LLRC recommendations had been addressed. There is time till March, next year to look into other areas where there is concern,” he told Daily Mirror and added that the appointment of these three countries including India to assess the country’s human rights record during the UPR was a matter of concern since they voted against Sri Lanka.
When asked for a comment on the UPR, External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris said no decision had been made on the composition of the government’s delegation to participate in the UPR. (Kelum Bandara)