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Department of Political Affairs

Sri Lanka

Feltman in Sri Lanka_smaller.png

For many years, Sri Lanka’s armed conflict was a matter of grave international concern. The United Nations supported political efforts to resolve the conflict and, during its final stages in 2009, strongly advocated respect for human rights and a humane and orderly end to the fighting. In the aftermath of the conflict, the United Nations, through the work of its Agencies, Funds and Programmes on the ground, has assisted with the safe and dignified return and resettlement of civilians uprooted by the conflict. The United Nations has also encouraged the Government of Sri Lanka to adopt policies to promote political reconciliation and a credible accountability process for allegations of wartime violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.

The joint statement issued by the United Nations and the Government of Sri Lanka during Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s May 2009 visit to the country provided a framework for cooperatively addressing these and other post-war challenges.
 
Panel of Experts on Human Rights Accountability
 
As a follow up to that commitment, the Secretary-General established a Panel of Experts to advise him and provide recommendations on human rights accountability for Sri Lanka. The Panel submitted its report (PDF) in March 2011. The Secretary-General and the United Nations will remain focused on a broad range of issues regarding post-conflict efforts in Sri Lanka.  
 
UN support for national-led efforts to build lasting peace in Sri Lanka
 
During an official visit to Sri Lanka in March 2015, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, said that the United Nations was encouraged by the commitment of the new Government headed by President Maithripala Sirisenato promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights. He also stressed the importance of addressing wide trust deficits among communities following the fighting.
 
He reiterated the UN’s commitment to assisting in the process of addressing credibly accountability and reconciliation. To assist  Sri Lanka’s efforts in these areas and building on the recent consultations between the Government of Sri Lanka and senior UN officials in New York, DPA, the UN Country Team in Sri Lanka and the Government of Sri Lanka are currently discussing with the UN Peacebuilding Support Office to mobilise the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) in support of critical priorities for trust and confidence building as well as reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Established in 2006 by the Secretary-General at the request of the General Assembly and the Security Council, PBF delivers fast and flexible funding aimed at launching essential peacebuilding interventions in countries emerging or affected by conflict or political crisis. 
 
DPA ’s cooperation with UN Country Team
 
The UN is also supporting long-term peace in the country by combining political and development analysis. Together with the UN Development Programme, the Department of Political Affairs has fielded a UN Advisor on Reconciliation and Development to Sri Lanka who works through the Resident Coordinator with the dozens of UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes that have been engaged in Sri Lanka for decades as well as national partners to support the ongoing reconciliation and peacebuilding efforts.