The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet yesterday raised concerns over the draft 20th Amendment to the Constitution.
Speaking during the opening session of the 45th UN Human Rights Council session, Bachelet noted concerns over the impact the 20th Amendment would have on the independence of key institutions, including the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission.
Bachelet also noted her concerns that Sri Lanka was reneging on its commitments to the Human Rights Council.
“In Sri Lanka, I am troubled that the new government is swiftly reneging on its commitments to the Human Rights Council since it withdrew its support for resolution 30/1. Among other developments, the proposed 20th amendment to the Constitution may negatively impact on the independence of key institutions, including the National Human Rights Commission.”
She also said that the pardon given in March to a former Army sergeant convicted of participating in unlawful killings, appointments to key civilian roles of senior military officials allegedly involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity; and moves within the police and judiciary to thwart the investigation of such crimes, set a very negative trend.
Bachelet also said that the surveillance and intimidation of victims, their families, human rights defenders, journalists, and lawyers should cease immediately.
She encouraged the Council to give renewed attention to Sri Lanka in view of the need to prevent threats to peace, reconciliation, and sustainable development.