The United Kingdom on Tuesday (July 11) welcomed Sri Lanka’s constructive engagement with the Universal Periodic Review process and the initial steps taken to make progress in some areas since its last review.
The UK government said this in a statement issued a day after the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Sri Lanka, Japan and Pakistan on July 10. The statement for the UPR adoption of Sri Lanka had not been delivered due to time constraints.
The Universal Periodic Review is a process that involves a review of human rights records of all UN member states. During the review, other member states make recommendations for how the country under review can improve its human rights situation. Meanwhile, the country under review can either accept or reject the recommendations.
During its review, Sri Lanka received 294 recommendations out of which 173 were supported and 121 were noted.
In its statement, the UK government has urged Sri Lanka to reconsider its position on its two other recommendations related to commemoration and memorialisation of victims of the civil war, and repealing of sections of the Penal Code to decriminalize same-sex conduct and ensure equality in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Sri Lanka has meanwhile accepted the UK’s recommendation pertaining to concerns around land expropriation and restrictions in the north and east by government departments.
The UK government, recognizing the significant political and economic challenges that Sri Lanka has faced in recent years, encouraged Sri Lanka to continue its efforts to foster political inclusion.
The statement underscored the importance of reconciliation, justice and accountability for all communities, and the importance of upholding the right to freedom of assembly and expression.
“We reiterate our commitment to work constructively with Sri Lanka to advance the protection of human rights and to achieve justice and reconciliation.”