01 July 2016
UN Human Rights Chief’s 29 June report to UNHRC noted some important steps by govt to implement 2015 HRC resolution but called for faster progress on range of concerns, including releasing Tamil detainees, returning military-held land, asserting control over military and intelligence establishment and dismantling structures enabling abuses; reiterated importance of international involvement in accountability mechanism. Amid waning public confidence, govt took some positive steps on accountability, rule of law and transitional justice: Parliament 24 June unanimously approved long-awaited Right to Information Act; Inspector General of Police 18 June ordered disciplinary action against head of police Special Task Force (STF) for public threatening of journalists 17 June; president 17 June issued new directives to police and armed forces on arrest and detention of persons on terrorism related charges; task force for consultations on transitional justice mechanisms mid-June began public hearings, met military officials, religious and other civil society representatives. Opposition and activists criticised govt for lack of public consultation prior to 27 May publication of Office on Missing Persons draft law, presented to parliament 22 June. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leaders 13 June criticised govt decision not to include foreign judges in promised special court. Defence Secretary 13 June announced much-criticised Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) will be replaced with national security act, prevention of organised crime act and intelligence act. Responding to pressure from civil society and cabinet members, PM agreed Central Bank governor Arjuna Mahendran not be reappointed until conclusion of parliamentary investigations into corruption charges; no interim governor named as expected 30 June following disagreement between PM and president.