The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (S/2021/312) issued on 30 March 2021.

More than a decade since the end of the conflict between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, a meaningful transitional justice process that would address crimes committed during three decades of civil war, including crimes of sexual violence, is yet to be established. In February 2020, President Rajapaksa, who took office in 2019, announced the formal withdrawal of his Government’s co-sponsorship of Human Rights Council resolution 30/1 with a view to developing a domestically-driven approach to reconciliation and accountability. Survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, particularly those who came forward to engage with the transitional justice process, are experiencing increased barriers to attaining justice in the current context. War widows and other marginalized groups are at heightened risk of sexual violence, in particular in heavily militarized areas such as the Northern Province, owing to an entrenched post-conflict culture of violence.

Recommendation

I call upon the governments of countries undergoing post-conflict transitional justice processes to ensure concrete measures are taken to deliver accountability, award reparations and provide redress for conflict-related sexual violence, avoiding amnesty or impunity for these grave international crimes. I encourage these governments to consult survivors in the design and delivery of transitional justice processes, in line with a survivor-centred approach, and to ensure that past perpetrators are removed from national institutions through credible vetting procedures.

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