States question Sri Lanka's reason to change wording of recommendations

Several delegations took the floor during the adoption of Sri Lanka's Working Group report on Monday 5 November to ask the delegation why it had changed the wording of some recommendations received.

France, Belgium and the United Kingdom wondered why there were so many recommendations changed by the delegation of Sri Lanka and what were the reasons for these numerous changes. The delegation of the United States expressed its grave concerns with the trend taken by States to change wording, stating that this practice was inconsistent with the transparent character of the UPR.

The report of the Working Group on Sri Lanka contains footnotes changing the wording of eight recommendations related to the implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission recommendations.

Footnotes are used in Working Group reports to reflect the wording of recommendations as made orally during the review before the State under Review (SuR) and the recommending States agree to modify them to facilitate their acceptance by the SuR. This practice started during session five (May 2009) with the report on Afghanistan and has been used largely ever since by many delegations, including 14 States in session 13 and 14. However, the average number of recommendations changed is usually 2 or 3. Sri Lanka is the third country with most recommendations changed (8), after Morocco (16) and Argentina (15).

The concerns expressed by those States echoed UPR Info's statement made on 21st September during the Human Rights Council 21st session. Jointly with Conectas Direitos Humanos and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, UPR Info denounced the practice of States negotiating the wording of recommendations and called on all states to stop this practice. This practice is in contradiction with the principle of transparency contained in Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/RES/5/1.


Watch the adoption Sri Lanka's Working Group Report here