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British parliamentarian calls for sanctions on Sri Lankan war criminals


Speaking in parliament today, Elliot Colburn, MP for Carshalton and Wallington, and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) welcomed the work of the British Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in bringing about the recent UN Human Rights Council resolution but questioned what further action was being taken.

He asked what steps the UK is taking “to implement the UN High Commissioner’s recommendations on applying sanctions, travel embargos, and filing cases against alleged war crimes under universal jurisdiction”.

Responding to the question, Wendy Morton, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the FCDO, reemphasised the governments “serious concerns” for human rights in Sri Lanka and noted the UK-led resolution, “enhances the UN’s role in monitoring the situation and collecting evidence of human rights violations that can be used in future accountability processes”.

However, she further added that on sanctions, “it would not be appropriate to speculate on any further designation”.

Her statement comes as there are increasing calls to follow the US’s lead in placing sanctions on alleged Sri Lankan war criminals such as Shavendra Silva, who has been credibly accused of permitting mass atrocities such as the shelling of hospitals, summary executions, and widespread sexual violence. He is currently under a US travel ban due to these allegations.

Thus far the UK has yet to place a single sanction on any Sri Lankan military or government official implicated in human rights abuses.

Read the full transcript here.

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