Sri Lanka: Politics and Government

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 23rd September 2015.

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Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker Conservative, Wycombe

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the political and security situation in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement.

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

As I said to Parliament on 15 September, the Sri Lankan parliamentary elections in August were the freest, fairest and least violent in living memory. The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) and The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond) congratulated the Government of Sri Lanka on the peaceful elections and reiterated that the United Kingdom remains a steadfast partner on reconciliation and peace. The August elections in Sri Lanka have resulted in a government committed to reconciliation and peace building. President Sirisena set out his government’s priorities to Parliament on 1 September. These included constitutional reforms; abolishing the Executive Presidency; electoral reform; strengthening institutions; and reforming the public sector and welfare systems. While we recognise that more needs to be done there has been some early progress with constitutional reforms strengthening democratic checks and balances, some land previously under military use being returned and military Governors in the north and east being replaced by civilians. Within this context, on 16 September I welcomed the publication of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights report into allegations of serious violations and abuses of human rights in Sri Lanka.

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