Sri Lanka: Human Rights

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 2nd July 2015.

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Photo of Baroness Kennedy of Cradley Baroness Kennedy of Cradley Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their latest assessment of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

Photo of The Earl of Courtown The Earl of Courtown Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

We welcomed the early commitments by President Sirisena, and his new government, to make progress on human rights concerns in Sri Lanka. Since then there have been a number of positive steps taken, including the adoption of the 19th amendment to the constitution that restores the independence of key institutions; removal of restrictions on freedom of expression, with exiled journalists invited to return to the country and a number of banned websites unblocked; and, more democratic space with travel bans on foreign nationals visiting the North lifted and the Non-Governmental Organisations Secretariat moved from the Ministry of Defence to the Ministry of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs.

Challenges however remain, particularly over high military levels in the North and their involvement in civilian life and land occupation.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will make an assessment of progress at the September UN Human Rights Council.

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