The Human Rights Council this opened its fourteenth regular session on May 31st, hearing a statement from United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who updated the Council on the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The following are remarks related to Sri Lanka by Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and response from Mohan Peiris, Attorney General of Sri Lanka:
NAVI PILLAY, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: With regard to specific human rights situations in many parts of the world, Ms. Pillay said the past month had marked the first anniversary of the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka, and the Council should reflect on the commitments made by the Government when the Council held its Special Session to address the serious concerns which had arisen in the last stages of the fighting in that country. There should be the establishment of an independent international accountability mechanism that would enjoy public confidence, both in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.
MOHAN PEIRIS (Sri Lanka) said that with the end of the terrorist conflict in Sri Lanka, the Government had now started to scale down emergency legislative provisions. As a first step in this direction, the Government had decided to withdraw a substantial segment of the Emergency Regulations, and had modified several others. Among those repealed were the emergency provisions which had a direct bearing on the freedom of expression, which had resulted in further strengthening the protective measures in the area of freedom of opinion and expression.
The rollback of the Emergency Regulations was only the beginning of a process which would continue when the ground conditions became conducive to their further relaxation. The establishment of a transitional justice mechanism was one of the foremost priorities of the Government and it was establishing a “Commission on the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation”, with an emphasis on restorative justice. The Government had also achieved the completion of the rehabilitation and release of all child soldiers.