Lanka rejects 100 rights recommendations
= Accepts 110 proposals including moves to implement action plans on LLRC report, human rights
Sri Lanka turned down almost half of the recommendations made by UNHRC member states on improving human rights, but agreed to submit details of voluntary meausres the country is taking in the next two weeks.
Sri Lanka rejected, among other proposals, calls to enact a freedom of information act, ratify the Rome Statute that would bring the country under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, decriminalise homosexual relationships, accede to the optional protocal to the Torture Convention and bring to justice those who committed the crime of recruiting child soldiers.
Sri Lanka accepted the proposals that called for the implementation of the Government’s action plan on the implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission recommendations and moves to strengthen the independence of the national Human Rights Commssion.
Sri Lanka also welcomed the proposal to adopt a policy that would improve the judicial system, reform law enforcement bodies and decrease the level of crime and corruption.
Sri Lanka’s report was adopted on Monday in a stormy United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva where countries taking part in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) objected to the alteration made to some of the recommendations in consultation with the countries which made the proposals. They also objected to the insertion of ‘end notes’ to further explain as to why the recommendations were unacceptable.
France, the United States, Switzerland, Belgium and the United Kingdom raised concerns over the changes and the adding of the ‘end notes’, but Russia, China and Cuba defended Sri Lanka’s position on making amendments to the recommendations and adding ‘end notes’.
During the UPR session, a total of 210 recommendations were made, of which only 110 were accepted by the Sri Lankan delegation led by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, the President’s Special Envoy on Human Rights.
Following are some of the main recommendations Sri Lanka accepted and did not accept. The names of the countries which made the recommendations are in brackets.
- Consider ratifying the Palermo Protocol on human trafficking (Philippines)
- Make further efforts to ratify other relevant international instruments that are vital to the promotion and protection of Human Rights, in keeping with its national capacity and priority (Cambodia)
- Continue efforts to implement the National Action Plan for the protection and promotion and human rights (Bahrain)
- Expedite action to implement the agreed Action Plan in line with the spirit of the LLRC through a process inclusive of all people belonging to all ethnicity (Bangladesh)
- Steady implementation of the National Action Plan for Promotion and Protection of Human Rights as well as the National Plan of Action to implement the recommendations of the LLRC (Japan)
- Take all steps to strengthen and ensure the independence of the National Human Rights Commission (Germany)
- Ensure structural and operational independence of the national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles (Maldives)
- Strengthen the independence of institutions such as the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the Police Commission and Election Commission (Norway)
- Take action to facilitate greater participation by citizens and civil society in helping to implement human rights action plans (Australia)
- n Maintain and strengthen cooperation with various UN mechanisms, as well as financial institutions to overcome the challenges faced in the peace and national reconciliation process (Benin)
- Share with the international community its experiences in rehabilitating and reintegrating former LTTE child soldiers (Cuba)
- Prioritise the rehabilitation and reintegration of former child soldiers (Italy)
- Provide greater cooperation to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances to accomplish its work (Ecuador)
- Ensure women’s participation in the post-conflict, reconstruction and peace building process (Finland)
- Adopt necessary measures to ensure that gender equality is a legal and practical reality, combating particularly gender violence (Spain)
- Criminalise all forms of violence against women and hold the perpetrators of such violence accountable (South Africa)
- Increase efforts on strengthening protection of children’s rights in such areas as child labour, domestic violence, trafficking and sexual exploitation (Iran)
- Consider incorporating the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders, otherwise known as the “Bangkok Rules “ as part of its work on the treatment of prisoners (Thailand)
- Fully and transparently investigate alleged grave breaches of international humanitarian law during the conflict (UK)
- Take necessary measures to bring to justice and prosecute perpetrators of violations of the international human rights law and humanitarian Law (Chile)
- Take necessary steps to ensure that all detainees are afforded a fair trial within a reasonable period (Ireland)
- Continue to carry out the policy aimed at improving the judicial system, reforming law enforcement bodies and decreasing the level of crime and corruption (Russia)
- Carry out an independent and credible investigation on the allegations of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law (Switzerland)
- Ensure legal ownership and return or restitution of houses and lands to internally displaced persons, according to international standards (Holy See)
- Remain committed to sustainable economic and social development, further promote national reconciliation, and achieve stability and development in the country (China)
- Examine the possibility of ratifying OP-CAT and the Rome Statute (Tunisia)
- Accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and draft a law on cooperation between the State and the Court (Uruguay)
- Ratify the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court and fully align its legislation with all the obligations under the Rome Statute, including incorporating the Rome Statute definition of crimes and general principles, as well as adopting provisions enabling cooperation with the Court (Latvia)
- Ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC as well as OP-CAT and establish a National Torture Prevention Mechanism (Austria)
- Accede to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (The Czech Republic)
- Continue efforts to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (Argentina)
- Ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (Belgium and Iraq)
- Consider ratifying ILO Convention 189 (Philippines)
- Abolish definitely death penalty (Spain)
- Decriminalise consenting homosexual relationships between persons over the age of consent by repealing Section 365A of the penal code (Canada)
- Adopt the draft bill on witness and victim protection (Germany)
- Enact legislation to ensure the Right to Information and bring it in line with international human rights standards (Norway)
- Guarantee access to the North and the East of the country to international and local humanitarian organisations specialising on family tracing and reunification programs (Uruguay)
- Expedite implementation of reconciliation measures in the North. This would include removing oversight of humanitarian and NGO activities from the purview of Ministry of Defence, reducing the intrusiveness of military presence on civilian life in the North and setting a specific date for free and fair Northern Provincial Council elections (Canada)
- Ensure a climate in which all citizens are able to freely express their opinions and beliefs, without fear of reprisal or retribution and invite the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression to visit (UK)
* Create a reliable investigation commission consisting of professional and independent investigators to identify, arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the Mutur murders (France)
- Publish the names and places of detention of all the imprisoned persons (France)
- End impunity for human rights violations and fulfil legal obligations regarding accountability (USA)
- Make every effort to ensure that those responsible for crimes against children, and in particular concerning the recruitment of child soldiers, are brought to justice as soon as possible (Sweden)
- Undertake measures that would allow citizens to have access to public information, in particular on alleged violations of human rights (Mexico)
- Transfer NGO oversight to a civilian institution and protect freedom of expression (USA);
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