Sri Lanka: Human Rights

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 23rd June 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Kinnock Stephen Kinnock Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State, what steps the Government plans to take with international partners at the Human Rights Council to deliver international accountability in relation to alleged war crimes committed during the Sri Lankan civil war, with reference to the Sri Lankan Government’s recent repudiation of its commitments under Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 and the termination of that process in March 2021.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The UK Government regularly engages with international partners on the importance of truth, accountability and justice for all victims of the civil war in Sri Lanka. At the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, the UK works closely with the Core Group on Sri Lanka, and made clear our continued support for justice for victims of conflict in a joint statement delivered at the UNHRC in February. While in Geneva in February, the Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, met the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena to underline this message, and the Foreign Secretary raised the importance of accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka during a call with Foreign Minister Gunawardena in May. On 20 May, in a call with the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, Lord Ahmad, who is also the Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, welcomed her recent engagement on Sri Lanka.

The British High Commission in Colombo continues to engage with international partners on this important issue. The UK has long supported Sri Lanka's accountability commitments made to the UNHRC through resolutions 30/1, 34/1 and 40/1 as the best way to establish truth regarding alleged crimes committed by all sides during the Sri Lankan civil war, as well as to achieve accountability and reconciliation.

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