Sri Lanka

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 20th October 2006.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Labour, West Ham

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the extent to which non-governmental organisations have suffered threats, harassment and violence in Sri Lanka.

Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells Minister of State (Middle East), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

It is clear that humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in the north and east of Sri Lanka face pressures in different forms, from different sources, that hamper their ability to operate effectively. Our high commission in Colombo has maintained a regular dialogue with the humanitarian agencies and NGOs on the difficulties they have been facing. The UK, together with EU and international partners, has raised these concerns in strong terms with the Sri Lankan Government, urging them and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to guarantee free and safe access by relief agencies to the people and areas affected. The Sri Lankan Government have a responsibility to recognise, support and promote the valuable contribution these organisations are making in Sri Lanka.

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