Human Rights Council 46th Session.
Item 2: Interactive dialogue on the OHCHR report on Sri Lanka (as per Res. 30/1 and 40/1)
Statement delivered by Ambassador Tine Mørch Smith, Permanent Representative of Norway on behalf of the Nordic Countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden
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24 February 2021
I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries:
We welcome the Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Sri Lanka and share the concerns raised. Since 2015, Sri Lanka have taken important steps in strengthening democratic institutions, but recent negative developments threaten to undermine the gains achieved.
Progress in transitional justice, accountability, and reconciliation is lacking, and has in some cases been reversed. The country’s minorities are increasingly marginalised. Sustainable development will only be achieved on the basis of human rights and through an inclusive process, where impunity, for past gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, is addressed, including through effective and independent institutions.
Of particular concern is the shrinking space for civil society. We urge Sri Lanka to review the Prevention of Terrorism Act to ensure its compliance with Sri Lankas international human rights and humanitarian law obligations, and to end all forms of surveillance and harassment of human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers and victims.
We also encourage Sri Lankan authorities to end the practice of forced cremation of Covid-19-fatalities.
We urge Sri Lanka to fully engage with the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Procedures, and to implement the recommendations of the OHCHR report.