The California-based Centre for Justice and Accountability (CJA) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in New York yesterday forwarded a joint report to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), urging the body to adopt a resolution recommending that the Sri Lankan Government cease harassment, surveillance and attacks against journalists and law enforcement officers who investigated attacks on journalists, including ‘to promptly release former CID Director Shani Abeysekara’.
The international justice and media rights bodies also urged Sri Lanka to decriminalise online criticism of the Government and resume investigations and criminal proceedings into attacks on journalists such as Lasantha Wickrematunge and Prageeth Eknaligoda.
CJA and CPJ have also urged the UNHRC to implement the recommendations made by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which included targeted sanctions against those accused of grave abuses, and possibly proceedings against Sri Lanka in the International Criminal Court (ICC), among a host of other punitive measures.the groups said they were making this recommendation ‘given the Government of Sri Lanka’s refusal to take concrete steps to implement its human rights obligations, including its duty to ensure that victims of state violence have a right to a remedy’.
They called on the UNHRC to pass a resolution that “establishes a dedicated mechanism to collect and preserve evidence to support future accountability processes, provide enhanced monitoring of the human rights situation in
Sri Lanka and prioritise support to civil society initiatives, particularly initiatives assisting victims and their families.” The forthcoming UNHRC session begins on February 22nd. The council’s core group on Sri Lanka, comprising Canada, Germany, Montenegro, North Macedonia and the United Kingdom, have confirmed that they intend to bring a new resolution on Sri Lanka based on the report of the UN OHCHR. (NIRMALA KANNANGARA)