Britain remains committed to working closely with the Sri Lankan Government

British parliamentResponding to a question on the hunger strike staged by the Tamil detainees by Parliamentarian Joan Ryan, in the House of Commons Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Hugo Swire said on 24 November 2015 that matters of concern are raised with the Sri Lankan government, including the detention of Tamil political prisoners without trial. He further said that British Policy is unchanged and Britain remains committed to working closely with the Sri Lankan government and international partners to support the implementation of the commitments made by Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council

Joan Ryan asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations the British High Commission in Colombo has received from (a) the Tamil National Alliance and (b) Tamil civil society groups on the treatment of Tamil political prisoners in Sri Lanka.

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs said Officials from the British High Commission regularly meet with political and civil society groups, including the Tamil National Alliance, to discuss political issues in Sri Lanka. We will continue to monitor the situation of detainees held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act closely and to raise issues of ongoing concern with the Sri Lankan government.

Joan Ryan also asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Sri Lankan counterpart on the application of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1978 in Sri Lanka.

Hugo Swire said we regularly raise matters of concern with the Sri Lankan government, including the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the detention of prisoners without trial. I met Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, the Honourable Mangala Samaraweera MP, on 14 September in Geneva. I was encouraged by our discussion and by his speech to the UN Human Rights Council. Amongst other commitments, he told members of the UN Human Rights Council that the Sri Lankan government would review and repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and replace it with anti-terrorism legislation in line with contemporary international best practices. We will continue to monitor closely the situation of detainees held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, and to raise issues of ongoing concern with the Sri Lankan government.

On asked by Joan Ryan, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of reports that Tamil political prisoners have been on hunger strike in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement.

Hugo Swire in reply said that on 17 November the hunger strike by Tamil detainees was temporarily suspended until 15 December. We regularly raise matters of concern with the Sri Lankan government, including the detention of prisoners without trial. Our policy is unchanged and we remain committed to working closely with the Sri Lankan government and international partners to support the implementation of the commitments made by Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in September, and in the UN Human Rights Council resolution of 1 October.

On questioned about recent discussions he has had with his Sri Lankan counterpart on the detention of Tamil political prisoners in Sri Lanka.

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs said we regularly raise matters of concern with the Sri Lankan government, including the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the detention of Tamil political prisoners without trial. I met Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, the Honourable Mangala Samaraweera MP, on 14 September in Geneva. I was encouraged by our discussion and by his speech to the UN Human Rights Council. He told members of the UN Human Rights Council that the Sri Lankan government would review and repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and replace it with anti-terrorism legislation in line with contemporary international best practices. I have also been encouraged by the recent announcements that bail has been granted to 39 prisoners being held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Joan Ryan asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) human rights situation in Sri Lanka and (b) detention of Tamil political prisoners in that country.

Hugo Swire in reply said that we warmly welcomed the resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights which was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka and adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on 1 October. Since President Sirisena came to power in January, there have been improvements in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, including on freedom of expression, some return of military held land, and improved relations between different communities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will provide a further assessment in our 2015 Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report. We regularly raise matters of concern with the Sri Lankan government, including the detention of Tamil political prisoners without trial. We have been encouraged by the recent announcements that bail has been granted to 39 prisoners being held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.( Parliament)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


*

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

171,571 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free Wordpress

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>