By Lalit K Jha
Washington, Jan 29 (PTI) The US has said that it is carefully reviewing a report from the UN on Sri Lanka’s human rights situation which highlights worrying trends such as deepening impunity, increasing militarisation of governmental functions, ethno-nationalist rhetoric and intimidation of the civil society over the past year.
The report urges enhanced monitoring and strong preventive action by the international community, warning that “Sri Lanka’s current trajectory sets the scene for the recurrence of the policies and practices that gave rise to grave human rights violations.”
“We are carefully reviewing the significant report from” the UN Human Rights Council “on human rights in Sri Lanka,” US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said.
“Sri Lanka’s future depends on respecting rights today and taking meaningful steps to deal with the past,” Price said in a tweet, a day after the UN report warned that the failure of Sri Lanka to address past violations has significantly heightened the risk of human rights violations being repeated.
Nearly 12 years after the armed conflict in Sri Lanka ended, impunity for grave human rights violations and abuses by all sides is more entrenched than ever, with the current government proactively obstructing investigations and trials, and reversing the limited progress that had been previously made, according to the report, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council resolution.
The report highlights worrying trends over the past year, such as deepening impunity, increasing militarisation of governmental functions, ethno-nationalist rhetoric and intimidation of the civil society.
Among the early warning signals, the report highlights are: the accelerating militarisation of civilian governmental functions, reversal of important constitutional safeguards, political obstruction of accountability, exclusionary rhetoric, intimidation of civil society and the use of anti-terrorism laws.
According to the UN figures, up to 40,000 civilians were killed by the security forces during then Mahinda Rajapaksa's regime that brought an end to nearly three decades of civil war in Sri Lanka with the defeat of LTTE in 2009.
Both the government troops and the Tamil Tiger rebels are accused of war crimes. PTI LKJ CPS