OHCHR / BACHELET SRI LANKA

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13-Sep-2021 00:02:14
In an update to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called for "concrete actions" after the Sri Lankan President said the Government was “committed to work with the UN to ensure accountability” and would implement “necessary institutional reforms.” OHCHR

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STORY: OHCHR / BACHELET SRI LANKA
TRT: 02:14
SOURCE: OHCHR
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 13 SEPTEMBER 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations

13 SEPTEMBER 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Various shots, conference room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations:
“The current social, economic and governance challenges faced by Sri Lanka indicate the corrosive impact that militarisation and the lack of accountability continue to have on fundamental rights, civic space, democratic institutions, social cohesion and sustainable development.”
4. Wide shot, participants
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations:
“A new state of emergency was declared in Sri Lanka on 30 August, with the stated aim of ensuring food security and price controls, amid deepening recession. The emergency regulations are very broad and may further expand the role of the military in civilian functions. The Office will be closely monitoring their application.”
6. Wide shot, participants
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations:
“I note with interest the President’s recent meeting with some civil society leaders, and I encourage broader dialogue and steps to open Sri Lanka’s civic space. Regrettably, surveillance, intimidation and judicial harassment of human rights defenders, journalists and families of the disappeared has not only continued but has broadened.”
8. Wide shot, conference room
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations:
“I am deeply concerned about further deaths in police custody and in the context of police encounters with alleged drug criminal gangs, as well as continuing reports of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials.”
10. Wide shot, cameras
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations:
“The Government has reaffirmed its intention to revisit the Act and established a Cabinet sub-committee for this purpose. However, I am deeply concerned about the continued use of the Act to arrest and detain people. Lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah has now been detained for 16 months under the Act without credible evidence presented before a court. Likewise, Ahnaf Jazeem, a teacher and poet, has been detained without charge since May 2020. I urge an immediate moratorium on the use of the Act, and a clear timeline be set for its comprehensive review or repeal.”
12. Wide shot, conference room

STORYLINE:

In an update to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet today (13 Sep) called for "concrete actions" after the Sri Lankan President said the Government was “committed to work with the UN to ensure accountability” and would implement “necessary institutional reforms.”

Bachelet said that the current social, economic and governance challenges faced by Sri Lanka indicate the corrosive impact that militarisation and the lack of accountability continue to have on fundamental rights, civic space, democratic institutions, social cohesion, and sustainable development.

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations:
“The current social, economic and governance challenges faced by Sri Lanka indicate the corrosive impact that militarisation and the lack of accountability continue to have on fundamental rights, civic space, democratic institutions, social cohesion and sustainable development.”

She said that emergency regulations declared on 30 August are very broad and may further expand the role of the military in civilian functions.

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations:
“A new state of emergency was declared in Sri Lanka on 30 August, with the stated aim of ensuring food security and price controls, amid deepening recession. The emergency regulations are very broad and may further expand the role of the military in civilian functions. The Office will be closely monitoring their application.”

The High Commissioner outlined concerns over developments in judicial proceedings in a number of emblematic human rights cases and expressed deep concern at further deaths in police custody.

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations:
“I note with interest the President’s recent meeting with some civil society leaders, and I encourage broader dialogue and steps to open Sri Lanka’s civic space. Regrettably, surveillance, intimidation and judicial harassment of human rights defenders, journalists and families of the disappeared has not only continued but has broadened.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations:
“I am deeply concerned about further deaths in police custody and in the context of police encounters with alleged drug criminal gangs, as well as continuing reports of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials.”

Bachelet called for broader dialogue and steps to open Sri Lanka’s civic space. She also called for an immediate moratorium on the use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and a clear timeline for its comprehensive review or repeal.

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations:
“The Government has reaffirmed its intention to revisit the Act and established a Cabinet sub-committee for this purpose. However, I am deeply concerned about the continued use of the Act to arrest and detain people. Lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah has now been detained for 16 months under the Act without credible evidence presented before a court. Likewise, Ahnaf Jazeem, a teacher and poet, has been detained without charge since May 2020. I urge an immediate moratorium on the use of the Act, and a clear timeline be set for its comprehensive review or repeal.”
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