OHCHR to push for full implementation of Sri Lanka Resolution

“There are some emblematic cases which are blocked because of the local justice system. So Resolution 30/1 proposes obtaining foreign assistance. If Sri Lanka is not prepared to do so, then they must propose an alternative. Focusing on the nationality of the judge is not important but what is important is how to unblock this accountability problem. We need to see that justice is done. Right now, we see the process is slow and it’s not delivering,” she said. Rishmawi said that after the 2015 Resolution on Sri Lanka was passed with the support of Sri Lanka, the OHCHR office had been working with the Government to implement the proposals in the Resolution. However, she said the process is going at a slow pace and so the last Resolution calls for a time-bound process.However, President Maithripala Sirisena, last week, criticised the OMP and moves to establish a truth seeking commission while the Foreign Minister said that Sri Lanka would not agree to any deadline.However, Rishmawi said that by cosponsoring the last Resolution, Sri Lanka agreed to show more progress over the next two years. She noted that the Government had taken several important steps which included establishing a task force to look at the human rights issue and made proposals which were in line with the expectations of the international community.From our point of view, we feel several positive measures have been taken since then, such as the establishment of the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) which will benefit all communities. We also welcome the fact that there is a discussion around the setting up of a reparations office. We support the work of the independent commissions established after the 19th Amendment was passed. We also know there is a Bill on truth seeking. So we acknowledge that a number of positive steps have been taken,” she said. Last week in Parliament, several comments were made on the Resolution and the High Commissioner’s report on Sri Lanka with different views and interpretations being voiced. “I think we can refocus attention on the implementation of this Resolution. What has happened over the last few days is a little distraction. Instead of saying we have something positive to work with the international community on, there is a distraction on what was said and what was not said. This is not helpful because the Resolution is the Resolution and the report by the High Commissioner is very clear; and the High Commissioner stands by her report,” she said.Rishmawi said that the High Commissioner wants to keep the focus on fulfilling the obligations and ensuring justice and accountability for all communities.“The recommendations are basically an agreed framework. What we want to see is if the recommendations will be implemented or not. So you have a baseline which is Resolution 30/1 and we now see what has been implemented and how we can make sure the rest are implemented so Sri Lanka looks good,” she said. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is to push for the full implementation of the 2015 Resolution on Sri Lanka.The OHCHR Chief of Rule of Law Equality and Non Discrimination Branch Mona Rishmawi, who was in Sri Lanka and met the Government days before the 40th session of the UNHRC, told The Sunday Morning that OHCHR would like to see what alternative proposals Sri Lanka has if it is to reject the proposals made by OHCHR. Rishmawi said that OHCHR is committed to ensure Resolution 30/1 and 40/1 are fully implemented and they hope the Government will support the implementation of the Resolution. read more

DR Congo UN seeks to revive vital agricultural sector disrupted by war

With nearly 80 per cent of the population of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) trapped in extreme poverty and more than 70 per cent undernourished, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is appealing for $50 million to support the agricultural rehabilitation of the vast war-torn country.“Instability in rural areas has led to an almost total breakdown of the food security situation,” the Director of FAO’s Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation Division, Anne M. Bauer said, noting that years of conflict have left over 4 million dead, with 1,200 continuing to die every day from violence, disease and malnutrition.“Access to fields remains unsafe, especially for women. Rural feeder roads are almost non-existent, which hinders commercialization and distribution of local products, and the inferior quality of seed stocks and lack of basic tools make agricultural work difficult,” she added, voicing hope that forthcoming elections will cement DRC’s return to peace and stability.“After years of war, mismanagement and widespread chronic poverty, these elections are an unprecedented opportunity for the Congolese to establish a legitimate authority committed to poverty reduction and food security,” Ms. Bauer said.“The support of the humanitarian community is crucial, and FAO, with the continued generosity of donors, will play an important role in helping the country move forward by restoring rural livelihoods and helping vulnerable people meet their nutritional needs,” she added. Agriculture, which supports two-thirds of DRC’s 60 million people, will play a key role in future economic growth and poverty reduction in a country where more than 1.7 million people remain displaced, and an additional 1.7 million have recently returned and are trying to re-establish their homes and livelihoods. This year’s FAO Action plan addresses malnutrition and includes support for families affected by HIV/AIDS, aid in reintegrating returnees as well as ex-combatants and coordinating emergency agriculture operations such as distributing seeds and tools.Other activities seek to rehabilitate infrastructure, including rural roads, support a rapid response capacity through pre-positioning of strategic stocks of agricultural inputs, and promote marketing of agricultural products.As part of its longer-term development initiatives, FAO is working to eradicate cassava mosaic, a disease that has contributed to the 20 per cent decline in cassava production in the country over the past 10 years. read more