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Netherlands Ambassador meets with Sri Lankan Foreign minister despite ongoing human rights concerns

Netherlands Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Tanja Gonggrijp, met with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, G.L. Peiris to mark the annual "Orange the World: 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence" despite ongoing concerns over the systemic use of torture and rape within the island.

The meeting comes as Police Scotland has decided to not renew their training contract with Sri Lanka following the successful campaigning of human rights activists and Tamil victim communities. Responding to this achievement Yasmin Sooka, Executive Director of the International Truth and Justice Project, noted that this was a "huge victory" adding that:

"Torture continues to be carried out by the police and army in Sri Lanka, despite all of the training - the international community needs rather to focus on accountability for torture rather than continuing to fund and support training and capacity building programmes which alone will not stop systematic abuse". 

Human Rights Watch has further urged international partners to disengage with Sri Lanka's "abusive police force" warning that such engagement would provide unwarranted legitimacy and act as a smokescreen for human rights abuses.

In September, the ITJP released a report highlighting cases of abduction, torture and rape of Tamils in the North-East for participating in commemorative events. They have documented 15 cases since President Gotabaya Rajapaksa assumed office in 2019. In one account, a victim described being "kicked with boots, punched, slapped and beaten with heavy pipes and sticks, whipped on their backs with wires, subjected to falaka and burned on their flesh with lit cigarettes." 

In October 2013 when faced with accusations of war crimes and mass sexual violence, G.L. Peiris claimed confidence in the government's investigation and denied that there was a case to answer over the reported thousands of Tamil civilians killed. The following month, British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, maintained a need for an independent international investigation in Sri Lanka adding that:

“To date, too little has been done, to hold people to account for crimes of sexual violence. The allegations include reports from the UN panel of experts that rape was used by government forces during the final stages of the conflict”.

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