Feb 05, Colombo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for South Asia Alistair Burt confirmed today that the British government will support a United Nations resolution on Sri Lanka sponsored by the United States at the upcoming 22nd UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva later this month.
He was responding on the social networking site, Twitter to a question from the Amnesty International whether the UK will support the resolution which addresses deteriorating human rights in Sri Lanka.
"Yes. Still believe that although progress been made, much remains to be done. Hope SL gov will work constructively," Mr. Burt Tweeted.
The Foreign Office Minister answered questions on the UK's policy towards Sri Lanka today live via Twitter.
Responding to questions on a solution to the ethnic issue Burt said UK will continue to urge the Sri Lankan Government and the major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance to make serious progress towards a political settlement in the country.
"Details of a political settlement must be for Sri Lankans themselves to work out. And the political settlement is fundamental," he said.
Commenting on the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to be held in Colombo in November he said the UK has not yet decided on level of any attendance at CHOGM.
When asked whether the UK will request Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to change the venue of CHOGM, Mr. Burt replied that the UK is not on the CMAG and his government expects the host to demonstrate strong Commonwealth values.
"Location for CHOGM was commonwealth's choice," he said.
Addressing the progress on the implementation of Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations, Mr. Burt welcomed the progress made so far but said although the war ended in 2009, the route of conflict as set out by LLRC still needs to be addressed.
"GOSL (Government of Sri Lanka) brought forward an action plan with timelines. We welcomed this and encourage progress in accordance," he tweeted.
"Physical change such as roads or return from camps is genuine but not sufficient. Political settlement fundamental," he stressed.
He said he made it clear to the Sri Lankan government UK's concerns about reputation of independence of judiciary in Sri Lanka because of Chief Justice impeachment.
"We look forward to Sri Lanka demonstrating those commonwealth values of good governance, rule of law and human rights and continue to press the government to do so," he tweeted.
He said it was essential that human rights defenders were free to speak out as they continued to make it clear to Sri Lankan authorities.
He said although there is freedom of speech, too many comments about intimidation are there to be ignored.
Mr. Burt noted that an understanding of the past, reconciliation in the present and a future based on commonwealth values are his vision for Sri Lanka.