Sri Lanka

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on the recent arrests of Sri Lankan policeman and soldiers in connection with a series of abductions and killings across the country; and what recent assessment she has made of the impartiality of the Sri Lankan armed and police forces.

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

We have previously raised with the Sri Lankan Government our concern that their national forces are not taking effective measures to safeguard civilians. This followed credible reports of a number of instances where it appeared that the actions of those forces had resulted in the loss of civilian life. Although there has been some media reporting, we have not received any specific reports on the allegations or the circumstances of the arrests currently in question.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made clear our concern, for the many Sri Lankan civilians who have become victims of violence since the escalation of the conflict, when she met with Rohitha Bogollagama, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, on 7 March. Promoting reform in the security sector to improve accountability and promote adherence to internationally accepted human rights standards is a key strand of the UK's Peace Building Strategy in Sri Lanka. The Global Conflict Prevention Pool, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development and Ministry of Defence administered fund, supports this work.

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