Sri Lanka

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 27th January 2015.

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Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the election in Sri Lanka and the prospects for an independent war crime inquiry in that country.

Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The Sri Lankan Presidential Election was generally peaceful and well-managed with a high voter turnout. We commend Sri Lanka’s Election Commission for its conduct of the election, and all Sri Lanka’s political parties and people for accepting the final result and committing to the peaceful transfer of power. The result on the day reflected the will of the Sri Lankan people.

However, we also note the view of Commonwealth Observers that an inadequate electoral and legal framework coupled with an unequal pre-electoral environment, meant the election contest fell short of key benchmarks for democratic elections. We hope that this is something Sri Lanka will now address, with the support of the international community.

We are encouraging the new government to engage with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, including over the UN Human Rights Council resolution agreed in March 2014. This is consistent with the Prime Minister's, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), statement after the elections that the UK “encourages President Sirisena to support the ongoing UN Office of the High Commission for Human rights investigation into human rights abuses so that the issues of the past can be addressed and the country can move forward to a brighter, peaceful future where all Sri Lankan’s can play a role.”

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