Sri Lanka: Human Rights and Military Intervention

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 10th June 2021.

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

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to The Government's Overseas Security and Justice Assistance Human Rights Guidance, if he will publish the record of assessments made of human rights risks and military engagement in Sri Lanka.

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

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the Overseas Security and Justice Assistance Human Rights Guidance, what assessment his Department has made of the human rights risks of reinstating the defence advisor post in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2019.

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

We regularly review and update our Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) guidance to ensure that UK assistance and defence engagement is in line with our values and is consistent with our domestic and international human rights obligations.

OSJAs are sensitive documents and disclosure could prejudice the UK's relations with foreign states. If OSJA assessments were to be put in the public domain we would lose the freedom to be completely candid in the assessment, undermining its purpose. OSJA assessments may also draw on material not publicly available that has been provided to the UK "in confidence" and disclosure could affect provision of such information in the future.

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