The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (S/2019/280) issued on 29 March 2019.

In its resolution 30/1 of 1 October 2015, the Human Rights Council welcomed the commitment of the Government of Sri Lanka to a comprehensive approach to dealing with the past, including instructions to all branches of the security forces that rape and sexual violence are prohibited and will be punished. In its resolution 34/1 (March 2017), the Human Rights Council requested the Government to fully implement the measures identified in its resolution 30/1. Despite delays, Sri Lanka has taken important steps towards implementing the provisions of those two resolutions, including the adoption of the Office for Reparations bill. Unfortunately, there is a lack of progress in establishing a truth and reconciliation commission or a judicial mechanism as envisaged in resolution 30/1, partly owing to the constitutional crisis that began in October 2018.

The latest annual Grave Crimes Abstract of the Sri Lankan Police (for 2017) recorded 1,732 complaints of rape and no convictions for rape cases. Since the passage of the Witnesses and Victims Protection Act (2015), a police division has been established to safeguard the rights of those reporting violent crimes. However, improving outreach, support and protection regarding cases of sexual violence will require more female officers and the sensitization of male officers. A national plan of action for addressing sexual and gender-based violence exists but must be adequately resourced and implemented.

Recommendation

I call on the Government to ensure that cases of conflict-related sexual violence are systematically documented, and to ensure that transitional justice mechanisms are mandated to provide accountability and reparations in cases of sexual violence against women, girls, men and boys from all ethnic groups, including when committed by State actors. I urge the Government to expeditiously implement the recommendations of relevant United Nations human rights mechanisms relating to conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, to ensure that reparations are available for victims and that the Office for Reparations is operationalized and adequately resourced.

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