Sri Lanka has had last minute talks with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet ahead of the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva next month.
Foreign Ministry sources told the Daily Mirror that the discussions were focused on her damning report on Sri Lanka which was made public this week.
“We are having some discussions with her office. We are trying to reach some sort of agreement on the matters she had raised. We will then issue a formal response,” sources said.
The government was expected to issue a statement after formally responding to the report but has been negotiating to reach a consensus with Bachelet’s office before the response is made public.
In her report released on January 27, 2021, High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said she was “alarmed” by Sri Lanka’s deteriorating human rights situation and set out steps that the Human Rights Council should take to confront the growing risk of future violations.
She urged UN member countries to take action, by pursuing prosecutions of alleged Sri Lankan perpetrators in national courts under the principle of universal jurisdiction, and by imposing targeted sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against alleged perpetrators.
Bachelet also called on the Human Rights Council to enhance the High Commissioner’s Office’s monitoring and reporting on the situation in Sri Lanka, including on accountability, and support a dedicated capacity to collect and preserve evidence for future accountability processes, to advocate for victims and survivors, and to support relevant judicial proceedings in member states.(EASWARAN RUTNAM)