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Asian Development Bank grants Sri Lanka £3 million despite human rights abuses

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has granted Sri Lanka £3 million, financed from the Japanese government, in response to the coronavirus pandemic despite concerns over the island’s human rights record.

This grant was approved on 2 June for the purchase of test kits, diagnostic reagents, personal protective equipment, and further essential medical supplies.

Chen Chen, ABD’s Country Director for Sri Lanka, warned that:

“the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a serious public health issue and will significantly impact not only Sri Lanka’s overall social well-being but also its economic development if not contained, managed, and treated in an effective and timely manner.”

He further stated that the ABD was committed to supporting Sri Lanka and that this grant “will help the government continue its detection and containment measures in hospitals designated for treating COVID-19 patients”.

The ABD has also pledged £1 million in regional technical assistance grant and support for the private sector purchase emergency medical supplies as well as supporting the country’s efforts to curb the COVID-19 virus. The international community has been widely critical of Sri Lanka’s militarised response to the coronavirus.

Read more here: Sri Lankan Officials stoke COVID-19 Communal Hate - HRW

Secretary to the Treasury and Ministry of Finance, Economy, and Policy Development S.R. Attygalle, said in response to the grant:

“We are grateful to the Asian Development Bank for stepping in in a timely manner to provide assistance to Sri Lanka to meet the immediate expenses necessary in managing this COVID-19 emergency. This grant assistance will help provide life-saving services to the affected population,”

The Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice has called on the international community push back against Sri Lanka’s push towards authoritarianism. Whilst encouraging a push back against Sri Lanka’s authoritarianism, Sri Lanka campaign emphasises the need for forms of development assistance such as emergency support to civilian agencies which can help with the threat of the coronavirus and ensure that ordinary Sri Lankans are not penalised.

Read more here: Sri Lanka slides into authoritarianism – Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice

Read more from Colombo Page.

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