On 23 March 2017, the United Nations Human Rights Council (“HRC”) adopted the Resolution on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka,’ (A/HRC/34/L.1). Resolution 34/L.1 reaffirms the full and proper implementation of HRC Resolution 30/1 of October 2015, and gives the Government of Sri Lanka (“GSL”) two more years beyond 2017 to fulfill its international commitments on reconciliation and transitional justice.
Whilst the Monitoring Accountability Panel (“MAP”) welcomes Resolution 34/L.1 and recognises the HRC’s continued engagement, it notes with concern that Resolution 34/L.1 does not set strict benchmarks and deadlines for implementing the transitional justice mechanisms established in HRC 30/1. Based on the lack significant progress seen thus far, simply providing time frames for the GSL and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on the implementation of Resolution 30/1 at the 37th and 40th HRC Sessions is not enough to ensure that the GSL abides by its commitments and obligations.
Similarly, Resolution 34/L.1 fails to acknowledge that the GSL has been acting in bad faith, which continues to be the main challenge towards meeting its obligations to victims. The MAP reiterates its position that:
“Should the Government of Sri Lanka continue to act in bad faith and/or fail to take significant steps towards implementing the word and spirit of HRC Resolution 30/1, the United Nations Security Council should, within one year, refer the Sri Lanka situation to the International Criminal Court.” (See MAP Second Spot Report, dated 28 February 2017).