Freedom from Torture, the UK-based human rights organisation, welcomes the acceptance of the UN report on war crimes in Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today, as a major step forward in the quest for accountability and a sustainable reconciliation process. The resolution was passed by consensus with the support of the new Sri Lankan government.
Sonya Sceats, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Freedom from Torture, said:
“Today’s resolution on Sri Lanka is a vindication of the brave torture survivors who placed their testimony in the hands of the UN and trusted the international community to act by impressing the importance of international participation in a proper justice process.
“For decades, torture has been practised routinely by the police, military and security services in Sri Lanka. The resolution acknowledges that torture is still ongoing and accepts that international judges and other experts should be involved in any justice process if it is to be credible for survivors of torture and other atrocities.
“However, this resolution is not perfect and crucial details of how a hybrid court will work in practice still need to be determined. There is still a long way to go. But the principle of justice for the victims is there and we believe that it can provide the basis for a sustainable solution and lasting peace in Sri Lanka”
The UN report, to which Freedom from Torture submitted detailed evidence based upon the testimonies of 148 Sri Lankan torture survivors in the UK, was released in mid-September 2015 and provided graphic and detailed accounts of torture and abuses during and after the Sri Lankan civil war and recommended an accountability process with a strong international component, including a so-called “hybrid court”.