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UNHRC Core Group urges Shani’s protection 

2 years ago

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  • Cites use of PTA and urges custodial deaths’ probe 

By Pamodi Waravita    The Core Group on Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) yesterday (22) called for the safety of former Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Director, Senior Superintendent of Police Shani Abeysekara to be ensured, expressing concerns about the continuing use of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act (PTA).  The statement, delivered on behalf of Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Malawi, Montenegro and the United Kingdom (UK) has further noted the detention of human rights Lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah, and poet Ahnaf Jazeem, and said that further arrests from the minorities and political opposition groups are being made under the PTA.  The Group has also stated that it supports the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) which has called for independent and impartial investigations into the recent deaths of those in Police custody.  “Council Resolution 46/1 called upon the Sri Lankan Government to address the harmful legacies of the war and to protect human rights, including those of religious minorities. We regret the lack of progress on these issues, with a number of further concerning developments. We are concerned over appointments to the Office on Missing Persons and reiterate the importance of ensuring independent and credible institutions to achieve justice,” the statement noted.  The A/HRC/46/L.1 Resolution has recognised the importance of preserving evidence relating to violations of human rights in Sri Lanka to advance accountability, and as such, a call has been made to implement an “evidence preserving” mechanism in the country. It was adopted on 23 March at the UNHRC with 22 votes in favour of it and 11 votes in opposition while 14 Member States abstained from voting.