The UN has called for Sri Lanka to be held to account in addressing war crimes committed during the last phase of the war and to reduce its military presence in the North and East Provinces.
Presenting at the 32nd session of the Council an oral update on Sri Lanka nine months after a consensus resolution was adopted on reconciliation and accountability, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein expressed dissatisfaction over the progress in identification and release of land still held by the military in the North and East Provinces. “these point to a deeper challenge for the [Sri Lanka] government in asserting full control over the military and intelligence establishment”. He said.
The report highlights the need to “strengthen civilian oversight over the military … over defense policy, discipline and promotion, budgeting and procurement.”
Hussein also said the government has made encouraging progress on reconciliation but that it needs to develop a witness-protection program and seek the involvement of foreign judges and other international expertise in the judicial process that was promised last year.
It must also move faster in processing people detained during and after the war as well as to limit military power and help people displaced by the conflict return home, Mr. Hussein said.