Sri Lanka has taken issue over statements made by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet at the 45th Session of the UNHRC. Sri Lanka’s Acting Permanent Representative in Geneva Dayani Mendis, speaking during the General Debate under Agenda Item 2 on Tuesday (15th) rejected the Human Rights chief’s conclusions regarding the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitutions, dismissing them as ‘pre-judgmental and based on presumption.;
The full statement is given below:
“The Government rejects the references made to false and unsubstantiated allegations levelled against senior military officials being appointed to key positions of institutions.
Sri Lanka has consistently refuted the credibility of these allegations and wishes to highlight that the domestic processes such as the LLRC and Paranagama Commissions that examined these allegations particularly with regard to the last stages of the conflict, have not found substantive evidence against any of the senior military officials referred to in this regard.
In the absence of any substantive proof, Sri Lanka considers that the continued arbitrary accusations on crimes or crimes against humanity made against these senior military officials are unacceptable and a violation of the principles of natural justice,” the statement said.
Sri Lanka further said, “We hope that this Council would appreciate that Sri Lanka while successfully containing the spread of COVID-19 through a balanced, multi-sectoral approach, and despite this challenge, held its commitment to the democratic processes, and conducted Parliamentary elections successfully and peacefully, last month, which the EU has acknowledged.
Sri Lanka would like to state further that the new Government which assumed office with the election of the new Parliament on August 5 remains committed to the assurances given before this Council in February this year.
In conclusion, with regard to allegations of surveillance and intimidation, the Government has already publicly refuted these allegations, and is committed to protecting and promoting freedom of expression and civil society space, and ensure that complaints received on alleged attacks against journalists, human rights defenders and civil society are investigated and prosecuted.
The prime focus of this Government is to ensure national security, and to uphold the rule of law and order in the country for all its citizens, with the aim of creating “an environment where any citizen can live freely without any fear for the safety of themselves and their families.”
In line with the above policy framework, the Government is committed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, with a determination to uplift the lives of all its citizens and ensure that there is no threat to peace, reconciliation or development in Sri Lanka.”