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Sri Lanka situation remains fragile, says top U.N. human rights official

Sri Lanka situation remains fragile, says top U.N. human rights official

NEW DELHI: A top United Nations human rights official has described Sri Lanka’s current situation as “fragile” and urged the government to promote national reconciliation as the country tries to overcome its worst financial crisis.

U.N. Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al Nashif expressed concern over the arrest in recent weeks of leaders and members of the protest movement that ousted the previous administration.

Sri Lanka’s change of government in July was achieved in “a largely peaceful way and in accordance with its Constitution, but the political and economic situation remains fragile and the potential for further instability remains,“ she told the 51st Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.

The new Sri Lankan government should “seize the opportunity offered by the changed circumstances” and promote national reconciliation, Nashif said.

She pointed out that 13 years since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, tens of thousands of survivors and their families continue to seek justice and to know the whereabouts of their loved ones.

“Impunity remains a central obstacle to the rule of law, reconciliation and Sri Lanka’s sustainable peace and development. This impunity continues to embolden those committing human rights violations, has created fertile ground for corruption and the abuse of power, as well as contributing to the present economic crisis,“ Nashif said.

The UN official said inflation in the country was 66.7 per cent and 6.3 million people were estimated to be food insecure.

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, speaking at the Geneva event, said the government was sensitive to the socio-economic hardships faced by the people and had initiated measures to ensure their wellbeing, according to a UN statement. – Bernama