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Interactive Dialogue on the High Commissioner’s Report on Sri Lanka

Statement by Ireland

22 March 2017

Ireland aligns itself with the statement of the EU and adds the following.

Mr President,

Ireland thanks OHCHR for its report on Sri Lanka.

We warmly welcomed the co-sponsoring of resolution 30/1 by Sri Lanka. It signified a determination of the government to ensure justice and strengthen human rights, democracy and the rule of law. However the slow pace of change since then is disappointing, in particular the lack of demonstrable progress on domestic law reform and the development of an accountability mechanism with an international component, which we regard as essential to the reconciliation process.

The completion of national consultations on reconciliation mechanisms is positive and, given our own history, we are aware that reconciliation is a process and requires consistent engagement by all involved. It can take time for trust to develop and for the positive impacts of a changed system to be recognised. Nevertheless, the rewards are inestimable. We urge the Government of Sri Lanka to persevere and fulfil its pledges on an accountability mechanism.

We are pleased to note the steps taken to date to implement Resolution 30/1 and the constructive engagement of the Government with OHCHR since January 2015. Changes are being made, albeit at a slower pace than originally envisaged. We welcome the progress made in constitutional reform and in the situation of human rights, although more remains to be done.

We further recall the commitments made by the Government, including in resolution 30/1, to address challenges facing civil society and human rights defenders in Sri Lanka. We urge continuing and strengthened attention by the authorities to this issue.

We will continue to closely follow developments on the ground. We expect and look forward to reports on concrete and practical progress here at the Council.

Thank you