Colombo, Feb 28 (NIA) – Sri Lanka, on Tuesday, assured the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that it would maintain a zero-tolerance policy towards torture and the government together with relevant agencies were working together to prevent and combat torture.
Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, in a statement said that while the government took allegations of continuing incidence of torture seriously, President Maithripala Sirisena was committed in combating torture in the island country.
“Although the National Human Rights Commission has recently indicated to us that there is a downward spiral of incidents, even one incident of torture is one too many,” Samaraweera said.
“The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the Police Commission, the Ministry of Law and Order and other relevant agencies are working together to prevent and combat torture. As in many other areas, this too is an area in which we require technical assistance, and I hope that countries with experience in this area will come to our assistance.”
Samaraweera further said that Sri Lanka had made tremendous progress within the past two years since the new government took office and this had been displayed by the regaining of GSP plus trade concessions from Brussels and the MCC compact assistance from USA this year.
He said while there may be some setbacks, Sri Lanka was committed to strengthening reconciliation and being a shining example that is prosperous, united in its diversity, upholding human rights, justice, and the rule of law.
Sri Lanka has been long accused of torture and human rights abuses as the island country fought a 30 year civil conflict between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels.
Dubbed Asia’s longest civil war, Sri Lanka’s conflict ended in May 2009 with the defeat of the rebels.
According to U.N. estimates, up to 100,000 people were killed in the war, but many more are feared dead, including up to 40,000 civilians who are believed to have died in the final months of the fighting.
The U.N. human rights chief had called for a hybrid court with local and international judges to investigate war abuses. Sri Lanka agreed to the participation of foreign judges before backtracking and now insists on local courts investigating the allegations.