Sri Lanka: Military Aid

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 11th January 2021.

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Photo of John Healey John Healey Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 6 February 2020 to Written Question 11516 on Sri Lanka: Military Aid, what support his Department has provided to Sri Lanka to combat (a) terrorism and (b) drug trafficking since April 2019.

Photo of John Healey John Healey Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 6 February 2020 to Written Question 11516 on Sri Lanka: Military Aid, whether the fact that Sri Lanka had recently lifted the moratorium on executions for drug offenders in March 2019, was specifically considered in any OSJA assessments completed in respect of the assistance.

Photo of John Healey John Healey Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 6 February 2020 to Written Question 11516 on Sri Lanka: Military Aid, what mitigating steps were (a) included in any OSJA assessments; and( b) taken to ensure this UK assistance did not enable death sentences to be handed down for drug offences in Sri Lanka.

Photo of James Heappey James Heappey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

Since April 2019, we have delivered some counter-terrorism assistance to the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. This limited assistance has focused on Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) training, improving Sri Lanka's capacity to tackle the current and potential future threat from violent extremism. We have not provided any further support to the Sri Lankan Armed Forces in combating drug trafficking.

We carefully consider all our engagement with the Sri Lankan Armed Forces which aims to support the development of a modern, professional and human rights compliant military. Our supporting Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) Assessment is regularly updated to ensure our assistance and engagement is in line with our values and is consistent with our domestic and international human rights obligations. Successive OSJAs have considered the moratorium on executions for drug offenders. Following an injunction by the Sri Lankan Supreme Court in July 2019 the moratorium has not been lifted and remains official Sri Lankan government policy.

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