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British MP presses government to 'remain resolute' on UN resolution

Parliamentarian Joan Ryan called on the British government to “remain resolute” in seeing through the full implementation of an UN resolution on accountability in Sri Lanka, as she pushed the UK on its engagement with the Sri Lankan government.

In a letter addressed to British Minister Hugo Swire, Ms Ryan said that “a number of issues remain” on the island “despite the positive steps which have been taken over the past year”.

On the issue of accountability for mass atrocities, Ms Ryan said “international participation is vital, as only through a credible truth, accountability and justice mechanism will Sri Lanka be set on the path to genuine reconciliation and a sustainable peace”.

“I believe it is incumbent upon the UK Government, along with its international counterparts, to remain resolute in its commitment to support the full implementation of the UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka,” she added.

“It is vital that the government continues to voice – in the strongest possible terms – the need for Sri Lanka to uphold the rights and freedoms of all its citizens and to impress on the Sri Lankan authorities the need to make greater progress towards realising a comprehensive political settlement which addresses the issue of Tamil self-determination.”

Citing reports of ongoing incidents of torture from the International Truth and Justice Project and Freedom From Torture, the MP called on the UK to reveal “whether these matters were raised with Government representatives and what reassurances they gave you about their willingness to produce a credible plan to tackle the endemic culture of torture”.

She also questioned “what confidence the UK Government has that Sri Lanka will repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act... given its disproportionate use against Tamils and the fact that almost seven years after the end of the armed conflict Tamil political prisoners are still arbitrarily arrested and detained without trial”.

The issue of land returns was also raised, with the parliamentarian calling on the UK government to reveal is position with regards to reports of colonisation and Sinhalasation of the Tamil North-East, and asked “what further steps the UK Government is willing to take to encourage land returns”.

See the full text of her letter here.