Although known for its tremendous natural beauty, Sri Lanka has long borne a burden of violence.
Following a civil war that lasted nearly three decades, sectarian divides have continued to grow to the point where 2018 saw officials declare a state of emergency in the central district of Kandy.
I have taken up my concerns with the Government; last week, I asked the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to promote peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
I am grateful for Minister Nigel Adams response and welcome the FCDO’s continued engagement on the issue:
“The UK has long supported efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, including in our role as penholder on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). We firmly believe that UNHRC resolution 30/1, and its successor resolutions 34/1 and 40/1, remain the best framework for establishing truth and achieving justice and lasting reconciliation following the conflict in Sri Lanka. We continue to encourage and support Sri Lanka to deliver on the commitments it made to the UNHRC through these resolutions.
“We are concerned about the Government of Sri Lanka’s decision to withdraw support for the UN resolution. Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, has raised these concerns on several occasions with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. The Foreign Secretary also underlined the importance of accountability and reconciliation when he spoke to Foreign Minister Gunawardena in May. The UK Government made our concerns clear in statements delivered on behalf of the Core Group on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in February, June and September. These statements reiterated our ongoing commitment to justice and accountability for victims of conflict and human rights violations, and lasting reconciliation. We also have an active programme of engagement with a wide range of civil society groups and vulnerable communities, and support efforts to deliver peace and reconciliation through our programme work, including as part of the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund. This includes support for resettlement and sustainable livelihoods of those displaced by the conflict, peacebuilding and landmine clearance, and a number of capacity building programmes to strengthen democracy, the rule of law and reconciliation.”