Meeting with Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to the UK, Saroja Sirisena, Britain’s Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle reportedly spoke on the need to strengthen bilateral relations and agreed to a controversial cricket match between British and Sri Lankan parliamentarians despite concerns over human rights abuses.
Financial Times Lanka report that both parties agreed to a cricket match during a meeting on 24 May. This follows the widely condemned tour of Sri Lanka by England’s cricket team which was done in coordination with the British High Commission in Colombo. British Tamils had voiced their concerns over the tour given Sri Lanka’s concerning human rights record which had been highlighted by a damning report by the UN High Commissioner.
The report expressed deep concerns over Sri Lanka, which UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, maintained represented "clear early warning signs of a deteriorating human rights situation and a significantly heightened risk of future violations”.
Read more here: UN report warns of ‘seeds of future violence’ in Sri Lanka
England players at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium last month
Despite these objections, the English cricket team completed their tour and hurriedly left the island without taking questions posed to them on social media after an open call from the British High Commission in Colombo.
The call for a proposed cricket match further follows a landmark court ruling by the British Upper Tribunal which described Sri Lanka as an “authoritarian regime” that threatened peaceful Tamil activists. This further comes as British parliamentarians and the Shadow Minister for Asia and the Pacific call on the government to impose sanctions on Sri Lanka’s army commander, Shavendra Silva.