Sri Lanka made little progress on transitional justice initiatives in 2017 – HRW

Global human rights organization, Human Rights Watch says the Sri Lankan government has made little progress on transitional justice initiatives agreed at the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2015.

The right organization in its 2018 World Report said while the general openness for media and civil society groups that emerged after the electoral defeat of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government in 2015 continued in 2017 under the administration of President Maithripala Sirisena, action stalled in 2017 on Sri Lanka’s pledges to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) made in October 2015 to address accountability and political reconciliation emerging from the country’s 26-year civil war with the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

In October 2015, the government agreed to a consensus resolution at the UNHRC to establish four pillars of transitional justice including truth, reconciliation, and accountability for past abuses and pledged to undertake several human rights reforms, including transitional justice demands arising from the civil war.

One of the four pillars of the 2015 resolution was to create an Office of Missing Persons (OMP). Although the government enacted a law in August 2016, efforts operationalize it remained stalled until September 2017, HRW said.

The report said the government’s response to the report of the Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms prepared by civil society leaders, appointed by the government, after conducting nationwide consultations in 2016 has also been disappointing.

Although some progress on policies and plans designed to protect women against trafficking, and sexual and other violence were made, the government is yet to fully implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the report said.

HRW’s World Report 2018 summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events from late 2016 through November 2017.

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