British government underlines importance of Accountability

British Parliamentarian Afzal Khan, asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, on 26 February 2020, whether he plans to make representations to his Sri Lankan counterpart on seeking justice for the victims of extrajudicial killings that are alleged to have taken place during the Sri Lankan civil war.

In reply his reply made on 03 March 2020, FCO Minister of State Nigel Adams stated that the British Government regularly engages with the Government of Sri Lanka on the importance of truth, accountability and justice for all of the victims of the Sri Lankan civil war. The Minister for South Asia, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, underlined the importance of these issues when he met the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena, in Geneva on 25 February. The UK continues to call on the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfil the commitments it has made to the UN Human Rights Council through resolutions 30/1, 34/1 and 40/1, most recently through the statement of the Core Group on Sri Lanka at the UNHCR in Geneva on 27 February.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs further stated that “We have announced our intention to establish a Global Human Rights (‘Magnitsky-style’) sanctions regime in the coming months. We will do this by laying in Parliament a Statutory Instrument (SI) under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. Designing the first piece of UK autonomous sanctions legislation is complex, and worth taking time to get this right”.

A global sanctions regime will allow us to respond to serious human rights violations or abuses anywhere in the world. We are a global leader in the promotion and protection of human rights and we want to demonstrate that the United Kingdom can be a force for good in the world. A human rights sanctions regime will help support our human rights objectives. The sanctions regime is not intended to target individual countries, but those who commit serious human rights violations or abuses anywhere in the world.

This was in answer to a question asked in Parliament by Virendra Sharma, what progress the Government has made in bringing forward a Magnitsky-style amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.

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