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Lack of progress conveys Sri Lanka's lack of will - TAG

Sri Lanka’s consistent lack of progress conveys the impression of a lack of will to investigate and prosecute serious crimes, the NGO Together Against Genocide (TAG) has said.

In a statement released alongside their new report ‘No justice, no truth’, the organisation said “we are deeply disappointed at the lack of progress on justice for crimes against humanity, including genocide, in Sri Lanka almost 8 years after the end of the war, and 2 years after Sri Lanka’s new government made commitments of reform to the UN Human Rights Council.”

The report which assesses Sri Lanka’s progress on implementing UN Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1, finds that Sri Lanka has only made good progress on 3 of 33 recommendations, with all three items relating to the planning stage, “meaning that there has been no substantive implementation of Resolution 30/1 beyond a planning exercise.”

TAG Advocacy Officer Andrew Thorpe-Apps said “Together Against Genocide calls on the members of the UN Human Rights Council to use bilateral mechanisms at their disposal to ensure that Sri Lanka fulfils its commitments to its own citizens and to the Council and delivers on its pledge to bring perpetrators of some of this century’s worst mass atrocities to justice.”

See TAG’s report ‘No justice, no peace’ here.

Read full statement below.

UNHRC must ensure full implementation of pledges made at 30th session on Sri Lanka accountability process

Together Against Genocide (TAG) welcomes the Report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council and the assessment of progress on Resolution 30-1 and recommendations contained therein.

We note with interest the extensive engagement between Sri Lanka and UN mechanisms outlined in the report. We concur with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that despite extensive engagement with the UN, limited progress has been made with respect to transitional justice, that preparatory work for judicial mechanisms should already be at an advanced stage (and are not) and with respect to emblematic cases, the consistent absence of progress conveys the impression of a lack of will to effectively investigate, prosecute and punish serious crimes.

We are deeply disappointed at the lack of progress on justice for crimes against humanity, including genocide, in Sri Lanka almost 8 years after the end of the war, and 2 years after Sri Lanka’s new government made commitments of reform to the UN Human Rights Council.  

In TAG’s own assessment of progress on Resolution 30-1, we note that Sri Lanka has only made good progress on 3 of 33 recommendations of the OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka. All these 3 items relate to the planning stage, meaning that there has been no substantive implementation of Resolution 30-1 beyond a planning exercise. Of further note are the 8 or more contra indications and counter-statements made by Sri Lanka’s senior political leadership, including outright denial of their commitment to implementing in full Sri Lanka’s own pledges to the UN Human Rights Council.

TAG Advocacy Officer Andrew Thorpe-Apps said “Together Against Genocide calls on the members of the UN Human Rights Council to use bilateral mechanisms at their disposal to ensure that Sri Lanka fulfils its commitments to its own citizens and to the Council and delivers on its pledge to bring perpetrators of some of this century’s worst mass atrocities to justice.”