Britain has issued a virtual ultimatum to the government saying if there is insufficient progress on Sri Lanka’s own commitments, or deterioration in the human rights situation, Britain will look for a strong and unified response at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. British Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Alistair Burt had informed the British House of Commons last week that Britain continues to raise concerns about lack of progress on post-conflict reconciliation, accountability and the current human rights situation with the Government of Sri Lanka.
“We have been clear that we expect progress in both these areas and also access by media and civil society to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), as well as free, fair and peaceful Northern Provincial Council elections in September,” he had said, according to the House of Commons Hansard. Burt said that in attending CHOGM, the British Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary will see the situation on the ground, speak with the Government of Sri Lanka, and draw international attention to either progress made or the lack of it.
“We co-sponsored the Human Rights Council Resolution on Sri Lanka which passed with increased support in March 2013. The Council will return to the issue of Sri Lanka in September and next March. If that is against the backdrop of insufficient progress on Sri Lanka’s own commitments, or deterioration in the human rights situation, we will look for a strong and unified response,” Burt warned.