The Core Group on Sri Lanka is planning to present a draft resolution to the 51st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) seeking the promotion of reconciliation, accountability and human rights on the island nation.
The Core Group consists of the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Canada, Malawi, North Macedonia and Montenegro.
In its draft proposal, the Core Group has called upon the government of Sri Lanka to fulfil its commitments on the devolution of political authority, which is integral to reconciliation and the full enjoyment of human rights by all members of its population.
It also encouraged the Sri Lankan government to respect local governance, including through the holding of elections for provincial councils, and to ensure that all provincial councils, including the northern and eastern provincial councils, are able to operate effectively, in accordance with the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
The Core Group went on to underscore the importance of addressing the underlying governance factors and root causes which have contributed to this crisis including deepening militarization, lack of accountability in governance and impunity for serious human rights violations and abuses.
However, the Core Group expressed concerns at the human rights impacts of the economic crisis, including as result of increased food insecurity, severe shortages in fuel, shortages in essential medicines and reductions in household incomes, while stressing the need to promote and protect the rights of the most marginalized and disadvantaged individuals, including daily wage earners, children, older persons, and persons with disabilities.
It also raised concerns over other human rights developments since April 2022 including violence against and arrests of peaceful protestors, as well as violence against government supporters, resulting in deaths, injuries, destruction and damage to houses of members of Parliament and stresses the importance of independent investigations into all attacks and for those found responsible to be held to account.
The Core Group further noted that it remains concerned at continued militarization of civilian government functions; the erosion of the independence of the judiciary and key institutions responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights; lack of progress in addressing longstanding grievances and demands of Tamil and Muslim populations; surveillance, intimidation and harassment of journalists, human rights defenders, families of the disappeared and persons involved in memorialization initiatives, and sexual and gender-based violence.