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Scottish MPs call for an investigation into Police Scotland's training contracts

Following the announcement that Police Scotland would not renew its controversial training contract with Sri Lanka, members of the Scottish parliament are demanding that all training contracts must be investigated and approved by Holyrood.

Police Scotland's decision follows years of campaigning by human rights activists and Tamil victim communities who decried their training contract with Sri Lanka as providing unwarranted legitimacy to Sri Lanka's abusive police force. 

In recent years Police Scotland has also provided training in Anguilla, Cayman Islands, India, Malawi, Namibia, Pakistan and Zambia.

Victim communities provided testimony accounts of being beaten, raped, and asphyxiated by Sri Lanka's police force. Investigators have further detailed accounts of Tamils being kidnapped and tortured including being hung from their arms or ankles, beaten and abused for days on end. 

Campaigners were further supported by UN Special Rapporteur Professor Manfred Noward who endorsed calls to end the training contract and demanded an inquiry into charges against the Sri Lankan officers.

"These allegations must be investigated and those responsible prosecuted and brought before the international courts if Sri Lanka does not co-operate," he said.

This demand for international accountability was also shared by Labour MSP, Mercedes Villalba, who told the Sunday Post:

“The Scottish Government and Police Scotland should be looking at all avenues to ensure that justice is delivered for those who have suffered in Sri Lanka.”

Frances Harrison of the International Truth and Justice Project has also urged for a review of the accounts of Tamil torture victims living in Scotland and for their cases to be brought before an international court.

“Torture victims are overwhelmed by this wonderful news. Police Scotland would be trailblazers if they gathered the evidence available to them and brought it to the international court.

Marian Pallister, of peace organisation Pax Christi, welcomed Police Scotland's ending their training contract but urged for the UK to "withdraw training and other support for Sri Lanka given the human rights abuses that are evident there.”

The SNP’s Westminster Justice and Immigration spokeswoman and MP for Glasgow North, Anne McLaughlin, has further urged the UK Government to impose sanctions on Sri Lanka.

"It is still a fact of life for far too many Tamils that torture and disappearances are still happening. We cannot stand back and stay silent.”

Read more here.

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