A/HRC/19/L.2: Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka
( March 23, 2012, Geneva, Sri Lanka Guardian) I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU.
The EU fully supports this initiative that seeks to promote national reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. We understand that the main sponsor has worked to find broad cross-regional consensus. We are also aware that the main sponsor has reached out to the country concerned, but has regrettably not received a positive response to these efforts.
In the EU’s view, genuine reconciliation among all groups and communities in Sri Lanka is essential and requires justice and accountability for past events. By cosponsoring this resolution, the EU fully places itself behind calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to act expeditiously to implement the constructive recommendations of the LLRC as well to fulfill its legal obligations with regard to alleged violations of international law. As voiced by the High Representative in February this year, the EU regrets that questions raised in the report of the Expert Panel of the UN Secretary General have to a large extent not been reflected in the LLRC report. In the EU’s view, accountability is an essential part of the process of national reconciliation and sustainable peace, and it is in the spirit of furthering these objectives in Sri Lanka that we extend our support to the resolution presented here today. The EU would like to encourage Sri Lanka in this crucial endeavor.
Lastly, the EU would like to express strong concern over continued reports of intimidation and reprisals against civil society representatives in Sri Lanka as well as in Geneva. Free and unhindered contact and cooperation with individuals and civil society are indispensable for the UN and its mechanisms to fulfill their mandates. If we let such practices of intimidation proceed unnoticed and unaddressed, we risk undermining the current system. The EU calls on the Sri Lankan Government to respect and protect the rights of individuals and civil society that have cooperated with the UN mechanisms, including the Human Rights Council, and to allow for their safe return to Sri Lanka.