Cartoon by – Winnie Hettigoda
The human rights situation in Sri Lanka has shown a “deterioration” and a British government report “questions Sri Lanka’s commitment to human rights and reconciliation”, including “controversial senior appointments”.
The British Human Rights and Democracy Report, which presented to the British Parliament and examined the human rights situation around the world last year, published reports of “increasing scrutiny and intimidation of activists, especially those dealing with legal and transitional justice issues.”
“The overall human rights situation in Sri Lanka will deteriorate in 2019, with intercommunication tensions, violence against minority groups and intimidation of human rights defenders,” the report said. Following the co-sponsorship of UNHRC Resolution 40/1, Sri Lanka reaffirmed its commitment to post-reconciliation and accountability, and submission was slow.
He noted that the United Kingdom and other international partners had expressed concern over the appointment of Major General Shavendra Silva as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“This appointment calls into question Sri Lanka’s commitment to the Human Rights Council on justice and accountability. “In response to this appointment, the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping in September announced that it would suspend the deployment of Sri Lanka Army personnel to UN peacekeeping operations.
“As I write, the corona virus outbreak has exacerbated some of the world’s biggest challenges, including human rights and democracy,” said Dominic Robb, the UK’s foreign secretary. “But one thing is clear: the United Kingdom is committed to being a force for the good of the world, acting as our guiding light on democracy, human rights and the rule of law in international law.”
“We remain at the forefront of multilateral institutions working to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law. We stand with the vote on the Human Rights Council and our support for Judge Joanna Corner QC, our candidate for the International Criminal Court. ”
“Respect for human rights and democratic freedoms is subject to the UK’s foreign policy,” said Lord Ahmed, who visited Sri Lanka last year. “Domestic and foreign events over the past 12 months have shown that we, the United Kingdom, must always be a strong advocate for accountability and justice.”