Blog: Human Rights Council

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February 22, 2021

Human Rights Council Must Break Circle of Impunity in Sri Lanka


22 Organizations Urge UN Resolution Ensuring Human Rights and Justice in Sri Lanka


(Geneva, Switzerland — February 22, 2021)  The UN Human Rights Council must take immediate and concrete action to prevent impunity for past abuses and address the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka, said a coalition of 22 organizations today. Highlighting recent recommendations of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, an open letter from human rights non-governmental organizations and academic centers and clinics urges the Human Rights Council to enhance monitoring of the situation in Sri Lanka, establish an independent mechanism to collect and preserve evidence of past and ongoing violations, and prioritize support to civil society and victims. The Human Rights Council opens its 46th session today. 

Ongoing impunity for serious human rights violations, including allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed over the course of a decades-long war has created a crisis of accountability in Sri Lanka. The toll on civilians, who have suffered serious violations and abuses, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture, and sexual violence, has been enormous with the High Commissioner noting how “the failure to deal with the past continues to have devastating effects on tens of thousands of survivors.” UN bodies have documented Sri Lanka’s persistent failures to protect human rights and a pattern of obstructing investigations, rewarding human rights abusers, and targeting government critics. It is essential that the Human Rights Council pass a resolution with concrete action as a signal to the Government of Sri Lanka that continuing impunity and abuses are not acceptable, and to affirm that the United Nations is committed to securing justice for survivors.

Read the letter from the coalition on the situation in Sri Lanka here.

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October 3, 2011

UN Human Rights Council Establishes Special Rapporteur on Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence

Posted by Susan Farbstein

Interesting development this week from the Human Rights Council: it has adopted a resolution to appoint, for a period of three years, a new Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence of serious crimes and gross violations of human rights.

The Special Rapporteur’s mandate will include gathering relevant information on national situations, practices, and experiences, as well as normative frameworks, related to transitional justice mechanisms.  The Special Rapporteur will also be tasked with providing technical assistance upon request, exchanging and promoting good practices, and recommending strategies to address grave human rights abuses and serious crimes.  The resolution calls for survivor-centered approaches and the incorporation of gender-sensitive perspectives.

The resolution received wide support, as it was co-sponsored by more than 75 countries.  The Council requested the Special Rapporteur report annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.

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