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Sri Lanka

House of Lords written question – answered on 24th July 2013.

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Photo of Lord Wills Lord Wills Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations about human rights in Sri Lanka they intend to make to the government of Sri Lanka during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo.

Photo of Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi Senior Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Jointly with the Department for Communities and Local Government), Senior Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Faith and Communities) (also in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The British Government regularly raise concerns about lack of progress on post-conflict reconciliation, accountability and the current human rights situation with the Government of Sri Lanka. We have ongoing human rights concerns about Sri Lanka, including on freedom of opinion and expression, and judicial independence. Our up to date assessment is available online as a ‘Country Update’ to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Human Rights Report for 2012. This can be found online at: www.hrdreport.fco.gov.uk.

We have been clear with the Sri Lankan government that we expect to see concrete progress on human rights, reconciliation, free, fair and peaceful Northern Provincial Council elections in September and that media and civil society have access and freedom of movement to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

We believe that CHOGM will either highlight Sri Lanka’s progress and respect for Commonwealth values, or draw attention to the absence of such progress. The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend Mr Cameron and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), will certainly take the opportunity to press UK concerns on Sri Lanka in line with our assessment of the situation on the ground in November.

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