The human rights situation in Sri Lanka was “mixed” in 2018, a UK government report stated, citing key concerns including increased inter-communal tensions, the slow delivery of key reconciliation commitments, delays in introducing new human rights compliant counter terrorism legislation and a stalled transitional justice process.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s annual report, ‘Human Rights and Democracy in 2018’ said that “throughout the year, human rights defenders in the North and East raised increased concerns of surveillance and harassment.”
During the 51-day constitutional crisis, there were increased reports of intimidation of the media and civil society.
The report also referred to the OHCHR’s report which noted a lack of progress on accountability for conflict-related violations.
The UK gave £1 million of funding to help resettle displaced families in the North and East, with an additional £400,000 to support de-mining work in the North. The UK has also provided Sri Lanka with £8.3 million from the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (2016 to 2019) for projects in Sri Lanka, including for police reform, de-mining, inter-faith dialogue and to support the UN’s Peacebuilding work.
“In 2019, the UK will continue to press for further progress on human rights, including efforts to improve press freedoms, tackle gender inequality, and encourage the reform of discriminatory laws. We will continue to urge the government to deliver on its commitments reflected in HRC resolution 34/1,” the report concluded on Sri Lanka.
Read the full report here.