UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL - 51TH SESSION

Item 2  - Interactive dialogue on report of OHCHR on Sri Lanka

Joint BENELUX statement

Delivered by Ambassador H.E. Paul Bekkers, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Mr President,

I am honored to deliver this statement on behalf of the 3 countries of the Benelux: Belgium, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Luxembourg. We align ourselves with the statement delivered by the EU.

We thank OHCHR for its report on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and would like to express our sympathy to the people of Sri Lanka who face unprecedented hardship.

Economic recovery can only be meaningful when it is accompanied by institutional and political reform, including accountability for imbedded impunity of past and present human rights violations, economic crimes and endemic corruption. In this regard, the Benelux countries welcomed the formation of a more inclusive government and constitutional reform. However, we are concerned about infringements on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, the failure to achieve tangible results with regards to accountability for past human rights violations and abuses and the militarization of civilian government functions.

We call on the government of Sri Lanka to adhere to its international human rights obligations, engage constructively with the protest movements and establish an inclusive process towards reform that is supported by all parts of the population, including minorities.

To conclude I want to ask the High Commissioner to elaborate on the obstacles preventing an effective transitional justice process.

Thank you.