The first draft (zero draft) of the resolution on Sri Lanka to be tabled at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to enhance its monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.
The UNHRC began its meeting yesterday for its 46th Session with Sri Lanka on the formal agenda.
Focus will be on a new resolution to be presented to the Council by the Core Group on Sri Lanka, consisting of Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Malawi, Montenegro and the UK.
The zero draft seeks a written update on Sri Lanka to be presented to the Human Rights Council at its forty-ninth session, and a comprehensive report including further options for advancing accountability at its fifty-first session.
The draft text encourages the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and relevant Special Procedures mandate holders to provide, in consultation with and with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka, advice and technical assistance on implementing proposed steps to advance human rights.
The draft also notes concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on freedom of religion or belief and exacerbated the prevailing marginalisation and discrimination suffered by the Muslim community in Sri Lanka.
It notes that the Sri Lankan government's decision to mandate cremations for all those deceased from COVID-19 has prevented Muslims and members of other religions from practicing their own burial religious rites, and has disproportionately affected religious minorities and exacerbated distress and tensions.