July 25, London: The British Government will take the opportunity to press on its concerns on human rights in Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that is to be held later this year in Colombo.
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office Baroness Warsi said the UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague will "certainly" take the opportunity to press UK concerns on Sri Lanka in line with their assessment of the situation on the ground during CHOGM in November.
She was responding to a question raised at the House of Lords of UK parliament on Wednesday (July 24) by Lord Willis on what representations the UK government intends to make about human rights in Sri Lanka to the Sri Lankan government during the CHOGM in Colombo.
Baroness Warsi in response said that the British Government regularly raises concerns about lack of progress on post-conflict reconciliation, accountability and the current human rights situation with the Government of Sri Lanka.
"We have ongoing human rights concerns about Sri Lanka, including on freedom of opinion and expression, and judicial independence," the Baroness said.
She said the British Government has made it clear to the Sri Lankan government that they expect to see concrete progress on human rights, reconciliation, free, fair and peaceful Northern Provincial Council elections in September and that media and civil society have access and freedom of movement to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
"We believe that CHOGM will either highlight Sri Lanka's progress and respect for Commonwealth values, or draw attention to the absence of such progress," Baroness Warsi pointed out.
She noted that an up to date assessment on Sri Lanka is available online as a 'Country Update' to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Human Rights Report for 2012 at www.hrdreport.fco.gov.uk.