Sri Lanka must use extra time to work with UN – Hugo Swire

swireBritain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Hugo Swire urged the Sri Lankan government to use the time gained by the deferral of the Sri Lanka inquiry report to work with the OHCHR to ensure the investigation is “thorugh and consistent”.

Speaking the day after the deferral, Mr Swire welcomed the opportunity for Sri Lanka to contribute to the report, as per its commitment to engage with the investigation, reiterating the UK’s commitment to see the report published in September.

“The UN investigation is a vital part of the process of addressing the grievances of those affected by the conflict and of achieving lasting peace in Sri Lanka. And we recognise how important this report is for many communities in Sri Lanka and around the world who are looking for answers. That’s why we, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, have made clear that the report must be published and discussed by September 2015 and we will stick to that,” he said.

“The UK wants to see reconciliation in Sri Lanka. That’s why we argued last year for a UN investigation into alleged war crimes and it is why we supported the deferral of this report for six months.”

The minister said additional evidence for the inquiry may be generated due to the deferral.

“We believe that the extra time will create an opportunity for the new Sri Lankan government to deliver on its commitment to engage with the UN investigation, potentially generating additional material to inform the High Commissioner’s report. And it will allow the Sri Lankan government to establish their own credible accountability processes.”

“In the meantime, the new Government of Sri Lanka must use this time to work with the High Commissioner and his Office, and to engage with the broadest possible spectrum of civil society groups within Sri Lanka in order to make progress on reconciliation, accountability and human rights. They have a real opportunity to build a successful, inclusive and prosperous future for their country. But achieving that potential is all about reconciliation. It’s about bringing justice and closure and healing to Sri Lanka and we encourage the Sri Lankan government to take this path to a brighter future.”

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