Written by Tharushan Fernando
22 Apr, 2016 | 9:29 pm
The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office says that human rights violations like torture, and sexual and gender-based violence continued in Sri Lanka’s north and east, although the overall situation in the country improved
Sri Lanka continues to be named within the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office Annual Human Rights Report.
Sri Lanka is one of 30 ‘Human Rights Priority Countries’ countries where the UK has serious human rights concerns and hopes to engage positively to develop human rights performance.
The report commends improvement in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka during 2015, while also noting that some concerns still remain. It recognises the positive steps taken by Sri Lanka during 2015 to improve freedom of expression and freedom of movement, reduce inter-community tensions, and restore the independence of institutions such as the Human Rights Commission.
The report also commends the government’s willingness to engage with the international community and the co-sponsoring of a UN Human Rights Council resolution in October committing to reconciliation, accountability and the protection of human rights. While appreciating the government’s willingness to address these issues, the report also notes that positive changes are less apparent in the north and east with human rights defenders continuing to report harassment and surveillance in 2015 and incidents of torture, and sexual and gender-based violence.
It adds that the UK’s work with the government of Sri Lanka will aim to continue strengthening democracy and the rule of law, and reform the security sector, sharing UK experience and expertise
The UK Prime Minister has pledged £6.6m over the next three years to continue support for reconciliation and human rights.
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