Sri Lanka: Human Rights

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Wes Streeting Wes Streeting Labour, Ilford North

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the progress made by the Government of Sri Lanka on the implementation of UN Human Rights Council resolutions on that country.

Photo of Heather Wheeler Heather Wheeler The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

We continually assess the progress made by the Government of Sri Lanka on the implementation of UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolutions 30/1, 34/1 and 40/1. In March when the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued its latest Annual Report, we agreed that progress had been made. We welcomed the restoration of important democratic checks and balances, improvements in freedom of expression and assembly, the return of some military-held civilian land, the establishment of an Office of Missing Persons and the ratification of the Convention on Enforced Disappearances.

However, we want to see further and faster progress. We continue to urge the Government to establish the full range of transitional justice mechanisms envisaged in the UNHRC resolutions, to deliver meaningful devolution through constitutional reform, replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act with human rights compliant legislation, and return all remaining military-held private land. During his recent visit to Sri Lanka on 2-3 October, Lord Ahmad encouraged the Government of Sri Lanka to deliver fully on its commitments made to the UNHRC and to develop a comprehensive and time-bound implementation strategy.

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