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Japan looks to strengthen bilateral relations with Sri Lanka despite human rights concerns

Addressing a meeting held by the Sri Lanka-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Association, Japan’s ambassador to Sri Lanka, Sugiyama Akira, expressed Japan's interest to broaden the scope of our bilateral relations over the coming years despite concerns over Sri Lanka’s human rights record.

This follows the publication of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report on Sri Lanka which highlighted the deteriorating situation. During the Human Rights Council session, both India and Japan abstained on the resolution which enables for the collection of evidence that may be used in a future war crimes tribunal.

During the session, Japan acknowledged the concerns by the report but maintained that “it was vital for Sri Lanka itself take actions and introduces remedies to realise reconciliation”. This support for domestic-led reform comes despite, the UN report noting the “inability and unwillingness of [Sri Lanka’s] Government to advance accountability at the national level”

 

India and Japan’s abstention further follows Sri Lanka’s unilateral withdrawal from the East Colombo Terminal agreement, worth an estimated $500-$700 million.

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