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UK expresses concern over torture and sexual violence in Sri Lanka

Speaking in parliament, Amanda Milling, Minister of State for Asia, detailed the UK government's concern over continued reports of torture and sexual violence by Sri Lanka's security forces.
Her statement was in response to concerns raised by Opposition Whip, Feral Clark, who highlighted findings from the International Truth and Justice report which detailed the abduction and torture of 15 Tamils by Sri Lanka's security forces. These abductions occurred since Gotabaya Rajapaksa took office as Sri Lanka's president in 2019. 

Read more here: New ITJP report documents ongoing abduction, torture and rape of Tamils in the North-East

In her statement, Milling maintained the government's commitment to "push the government of Sri Lanka to take action on accountability for violations committed during and after the conflict, including crimes of sexual violence".

She further highlighted that the UK had led the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 46/1 which maintained the need for accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. The resolution mandated the collection of evidence of war crimes that may be used in a future war crimes tribunal. The resolution also expresses concern at alleged torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.
Milling also noted that Minister for South Asia, Tariq Ahmad, has raised his human rights concerns with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris in calls on 10 May and 24 September respectively. 

Milling further claims that the current UK Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, also raised the importance of upholding human rights when she met with Peiris on 26 October. Truss faced intense criticism from MPs and Tamil activists for this meeting and the following media statement which did not raise human rights but instead advocated for "strengthening security ties". This comes as Scottish MPs, numerous human rights NGOs, and a former UN investigator has raised serious concerns over Police Scotland's training contract with Sri Lanka's abusive police authority.

Read more here: 'Simply appalling' - British MPs slam meeting between UK and Sri Lanka Foreign Ministers

The Minister of State for Asia maintained that Britain would "continue to press for a strong role for the UNHRC to help deliver accountability and reconciliation and ensure the protection of human rights in Sri Lanka".

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