UN rights expert urges Sri Lanka to protect minorities
UN rights expert urges Sri Lanka to protect minorities

[JURIST] The UN Independent Expert on minority issues, Rita Izsák-Ndiaye [official profile], on Thursday urged [press release] the Sri Lankan government to better protect minorities following the civil war. Izsák-Ndiaye advised that for true change to take place a concerted effort must be put into creating “a comprehensive, well-planned and well-coordinated truth” as well as measures to improve accountability. She also suggested that part of this effort must be present in education urging that educational curriculums be developed to teach about diversity within the nation in order to “foster deeper understanding.” Finally, she called for a independent minority rights group to ensure that their needs were being heard and met as well as to “form a bridge between minority communities and the state.”

The global community has been calling on the Sri Lankan government to create more accountability, most recently since the end of the Sri Lankan civil war. The UN released a report last year finding that war crimes may have been committed [JURIST report] during the war. Later that year the President of Sri Lanka rejected [JURIST report] a UN recommendation for international involvement in its domestic investigation of the war crimes. The UN report came amid mounting pressure on the Sri Lankan government from human rights groups and the international community to investigate and prosecute abuses during the conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In 2014 then-US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Stephen Rapp called on Sri Lanka to investigate rights abuses [JURIST report] by security forces during the civil war. In 2013 UK Prime Minister David Cameron demanded [JURIST report] that the Sri Lankan government conduct its own investigation into war crime allegations. Earlier that year, then-UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called on [JURIST report] Sri Lanka to improve its human rights record.