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Human Rights Council 38: Human rights in Colombia, Cambodia, Georgia and Sri Lanka

This UK statement was delivered at the 38th session of the Human Rights Council during the discussion on the human rights situations in Colombia, Cambodia, Georgia and Sri Lanka

UN palais
The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

The work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is extremely important and benefits from constructive engagement by all States.

To this end, we commend Colombia for its constructive approach to engagement with OHCHR mechanisms and for its open acknowledgment of specific human rights challenges. We are dismayed by the continued democratic deterioration in Cambodia including the dissolution of the main opposition party, detention of Kem Sokha, the lack of constructive engagement with the OHCHR country office and mechanisms and the impact on freedom of speech following disruption of several NGOs and media outlets.

The human rights situation in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia continues to be of great concern. We reiterate our previous calls for unhindered access for international organisations and monitors to all parts of Georgia.

In Sri Lanka, we are encouraged by further recent land returns, the Cabinet’s approval of a Bill to establish an Office of Reparations and steps taken to hold perpetrators of hate speech to account. However, much more still needs to be done. We urge the government to take the steps necessary to implement fully Resolution 34/1, including devolution through constitutional reform, the establishment of all the transitional justice mechanisms outlined in the Resolution, and repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. We firmly believe that with determined leadership this government can take the actions needed to support long-term reconciliation, peace and prosperity for all Sri Lankans.

Published 5 July 2018