Sri Lanka’s human rights record is due to be reviewed before the UN Human Rights Committee today and tomorrow (7 and 8 October) and the list of issues that are to be discussed before the 18-member Committee includes counter terrorism measures, accountability as well as rights of persons belonging to minorities.
The review of the human rights record of Sri Lanka is being carried out for the fifth time before the Committee that comprises of 18 independent experts and the dialogue that has been scheduled to be carried out tomorrow and the day after between the Committee members and the Sri Lankan delegation would discuss a wide range of issues to which includes allegations that have been leveled against the government in terms of violation freedom of expression, assembly and association.
Several reports submitted by NGOs on Sri Lanka’s human rights situation is also due to be discussed however, many of them do not seem to contain content favourable to Sri Lanka. The report submitted by the International Society for Human Rights for example has noted that the ‘human rights defenders and others working to promote truth, justice and accountability in relation to a UN estimated 40,000 civilian deaths in Sri Lanka in 2009 alone face a systematic pattern of threats, harassment, intimidation and violence. . .’
It has also shed light on the arbitrary arrests and detentions of human rights defenders, murders of journalists, crackdown on the rights to freedom of expression and association as well as intimidation, threats, reprisals and defamation of human rights defenders as ‘traitors’ by government officials and government affiliated media institutions.