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‘UK must show international leadership on Sri Lanka’ - Shadow Minister for Asia

Britain must “show international leadership” on Sri Lanka said the Shadow Minister for Asia Stephen Kinnock, in a letter where he expressed “deep concern about alarming threats to democratic governance, the rule of law and human rights” on the island.

“During the period President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, were in power, the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts found that the actions of the Sri Lankan armed forces, as well as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), had led to the deaths of an estimated 40,000 civilians in the final months of the war in 2009,” wrote Kinnock, in a letter to the Foreign Office Minister for Asia. “Thousands were detained, tortured in custody, or became victims of enforced disappearances.”

“To date, we have seen very little accountability for these crimes,” he continued. “Individuals who are credibly accused of involvement in these crimes hold key positions in the Sri Lankan government today,” Kinnock added, highlighting the role of Shavendra Silva, the head of Sri Lanka’s army.

Kinnock went on to ask what steps the British government would take next on accountability and “whether or not the Foreign Office are looking at applying Magnitsky sanctions to human rights violators in Sri Lanka”.

He also highlighted how the UK’s Defence Advisor “has met at least four senior commanders of the Sri Lankan military credibly accused of gross human rights violations”, 

“I would be grateful if you could explain how the activities of the Defence Advisor, including engaging with individuals credibly accused of gross human rights violations, will lead to greater accountability for the Sri Lankan military?,” Kinnock asked.

See the full text of his letter below.

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