UK regrets setbacks in human rights cases in Lanka

By Sujeeva Nivunehlla in London

UK’s Global Ambassador for Human Rights Rita French on Wednesday expressed concerns regarding the continued lack of progress on accountability in Sri Lanka and said the UK regrets that there have been setbacks in several emblematic human rights cases.

Delivering the UK national statement during the Interactive Dialogue on the OHCHR report on Sri Lanka, French welcomed the recent releases on bail of Ahnaf Jazeem and Hejaaz Hizbullah as a positive first step and whilst acknowledging initial reforms of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, said these do not go far enough.

“Whilst we acknowledge the NGO Secretariat move to the Foreign Ministry, we have concerns around surveillance and harassment of civil society, and militarisation of civilian governmental functions. The appointment of an individual, named in a key emblematic case, to the post of Provincial Governor, is particularly worrying,” the UK said.

“Whilst we acknowledge ongoing work in Government institutions on reparations and missing persons, it is crucial this is accompanied by a comprehensive reconciliation and accountability process. We note with concern that minority communities are facing increased marginalisation, with allegations of land grabs in the North and East of the country,” French said.

She called on the  Government of Sri Lanka to engage constructively with the recommendations in resolution 46/1 and to co-operate with your Office.

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