The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, in her latest report that is to be presented at the upcoming Human Rights Council session in Geneva, has called for the imposition of targeted sanctions such as travel bans and asset freezes, the Sunday Times reported.
High Commissioner Bachelet has also recommended that the International Criminal Court (ICC) set up an international mechanism to investigate and prosecute those accused of human rights abuses and war crimes in Sri Lanka.
Bachelet critical of the new administration
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet had lambasted the presidential pardon of Sergeant Sunil Rathnayaka, a convicted perpetrator of the Mirusuvil massacre in which eight Tamil civilians were killed, as “an affront to victims and yet another example of the failure of Sri Lanka to fulfil its international human rights obligations to provide meaningful accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other gross violations of human rights.”
In a statement released by her office, she noted that, “Pardoning one of the sole convicted perpetrators of atrocities committed during the Sri Lankan conflict further undermines the limited progress the country has made towards ending impunity for mass human rights abuse."
She has also criticised Sri Lanka for using the pandemic to stifle freedom of expression. In December 2020, she warned that while many states had adopted justifiable and temporary measures, “there have also been deeply worrying cases where governments appear to be using COVID-19 as a cover for human rights violations.”