UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



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COUNCIL CONCLUDES SPECIAL SESSION AFTER ADOPTING RESOLUTION ON ASSISTANCE TO SRI LANKA IN PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS



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Human Rights Council

ROUNDUP RELEASE 27 May 2009

The Human Rights Council concluded its eleventh Special Session today after adopting a resolution on assistance to Sri Lanka in the promotion and protection of human rights in which it encouraged the Government to continue to pursue its existing cooperation with relevant United Nations organizations in order to provide, in cooperation with the Government, basic humanitarian assistance, in particular, safe drinking water, sanitation, food, and medical and healthcare services to the internally displaced persons. It also urged the Government to continue strengthening its activities to ensure that there was no discrimination against ethnic minorities in the enjoyment of the full range of human rights.

In the resolution, which was adopted by a vote of 29 in favour, 12 against, and 6 abstentions, the Council commended the measures taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to address the urgent needs of the internally displaced persons and welcomed the continued commitment of Sri Lanka to the promotion and protection of all human rights, and encouraged it to continue to uphold its human rights obligations and the norms of international human rights law. It also welcomed the announcement of the proposal to safely resettle the bulk of the internally displaced persons within six months, and encouraged the Government to proceed in these endeavours with due respect to persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.

The Council further acknowledged the commitment of the Government to provide access as may be appropriate to international humanitarian agencies in order to ensure humanitarian assistance to the population affected by the past conflict, in particular internally displaced persons, with a view to meeting their urgent needs. It also encouraged the Government to continue to persevere in its efforts towards the disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation of former child soldiers that were recruited by the non-state armed actors in the conflict in Sri Lanka, and their physical and psychological recovery and reintegration into society, in cooperation with relevant United Nations organizations.

The Council welcomed the resolve of the Sri Lankan authorities to begin a broader dialogue with all parties in order to enhance the process of political settlement and to bring about lasting peace and development in Sri Lanka based on consensus among and respect for the rights of all the ethnic and religious groups inhabiting it. It further urged the international community to cooperate with the Government of Sri Lanka in the reconstruction efforts, including by increasing the provision of financial assistance, including Official Development Assistance, to help the country fight poverty and underdevelopment and continue to ensure the promotion and protection of all human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights.

General Assembly Resolution 60/251 which created the Human Rights Council states in its operative paragraph 10 that the Council “shall be able to hold Special Sessions when needed at the request of a member of the Council with the support of one-third of the membership of the Council”.

This was the eleventh Special Session of the Human Rights Council. The Council’s previous Special Sessions related to grave human rights violations in the Gaza Strip, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Darfur, Myanmar, the Global Food Crisis, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Global Financial and Economic Crises.
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