UN to review Sri Lanka’s human rights record

Sri Lanka’s human rights record will be examined by the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group for the third time on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 in a meeting that will be webcast live.

The delegation of Sri Lanka will be headed by National Policies and Economic Affairs Deputy Minister Dr.Harsha de Silva.

Sri Lanka is one of the 14 States to be reviewed by the UPR Working Group during its upcoming session taking place from 6 to 17 November. Sri Lanka’s first and second UPR reviews took place in May 2008 and November 2012, respectively.

The documents on which the reviews are based are: 1) national report - information provided by the State under review; 2) information contained in the reports of independent human rights experts and groups, known as the Special Procedures, human rights treaty bodies, and other UN entities; 3) information provided by other stakeholders including national human rights institutions, regional organizations and civil society groups.

Among the issues raised in the above-mentioned documents are: investigations into all cases of enforced disappearances, reparations for victims and relatives, and bringing those responsible to justice; investigations into alleged war crimes; the Prevention of Terrorism Act; operationalising the Office of Missing Persons; steps to establish a truth and reconciliation commission; ensuring equal access to justice systems for all communities; reports of the use of torture and arbitrary arrest by security and law enforcement; addressing hate speech and incitement to violence; promoting and protecting the rights of the LGBTI community; steps taken to decriminalise same-sex relations between adults; steps to protect religious minorities; the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act; combatting gender-based and sexual violence; criminalizing all forms of violence against women, including marital rape; steps to eliminate child labour; and measures taken to improve the living conditions of the poor.

The UPR is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. Since its first meeting was held in April 2008, all 193 UN member States have been reviewed twice within the first and second UPR cycles. During the third UPR cycle, States are again expected to spell out steps they have taken to implement recommendations posed during their previous reviews which they committed to follow-up on, as well as to highlight recent human rights developments in the country.

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