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UN Committee calls on prompt investigations and prosecutions in Sri Lanka

(February 17, New York City, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) urges Sri Lanka to “promptly investigate, prosecute and punish all acts of violence including sexual violence” which have arisen during the last stages of the conflict and in the post conflict phase. The Committee further calls on Sri Lanka to “consider having an independent international accountability mechanism, in accordance with recent proposal of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, mandated to investigate the cases of serious violations of human rights, including women’s rights, which have arisen in the last stages of the fighting.”

Before, ECCHR has submitted a report to the CEDAW Committee during its 48th session on the foreseeability of sexual violence in conflict in the case of Sri Lanka. The paper demands new legal ways in order to hold perpetrators accountable and calls for the UN to consider the use of sexual violence in conflicts as part of its approach for respecting human and women's rights. The existence and legal denial of sexual violence as a crime was an expression of gender-based discrimination and patriarchal systems that needed to be overcome

The Committee called on investigations, prosecution and punishment of all acts of violence during the armed conflict in Sri Lanka. So far, although many international NGOs presented credible evidence of the commission of war crimes by both parties to the conflict, no serious investigations have been opened.

ECCHR’s Gender and Human Rights program manager Anna von Gall said: “Sri Lanka must comply with its obligations to prevent women and girls from being subjected to sexual violence by military personnel and has to prosecute those crimes that have been committed pursuant to the Convention's framework.”

Link (Committee concluding observations, ECCHR submission and oral statement)

Link (ECCHR – Sri Lanka)

Link (CEDAW 48th Session)

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