Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.
|18 Jul 2019, 1:50 p.m.||Sri Lanka: Politics and Government||Ruth Jones|
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the political situation in Sri Lanka.
Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office makes regular assessments of the political situation in Sri Lanka, including through the British High Commission in Colombo. Sri Lanka is a close partner of the UK and a fellow Commonwealth member, and we welcome our joint reaffirmation of democratic values at the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting on 10 July.
We are concerned about the rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric since the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks. We have urged the Government of Sri Lanka to take stronger action to protect minorities and prevent extremists in all communities from inciting violence. The Minister for Asia and the Pacific most recently raised these concerns with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister in June.
We are also concerned about President Sirisena's statements reiterating his intention to end the country's moratorium on the death penalty, and issued a statement on 26 June. While we welcome the Supreme Court ruling on 5 July halting executions until October, we have made clear our continued concern, including about the implications for our cooperation on counter narcotics, counter terrorism and other areas of law enforcement. We will continue to encourage the Government of Sri Lanka to maintain its moratorium.
More broadly, the UK continues to believe that Sri Lanka's commitments to the UN Human Rights Council through Resolutions 30/1, 34/1 and 40/1 remain the best framework for establishing truth, justice and lasting reconciliation in Sri Lanka. We will continue to encourage and support Sri Lanka to deliver on these commitments.