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Sri Lanka: Politics and Government

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received of the recent treatment of students and staff at Jaffria university, Sri Lanka, by the Sri Lankan army; and what discussions she has had (a) with the Sri Lankan Government and (b) at a European level on the behaviour of the Sri Lankan army towards civilians. (138831)

We are aware of the reports of harassment on the campus of Jaffria university and of allegations of the involvement of paramilitaries and members of the Sri Lankan armed forces in these incidents. Continuing reports of abductions, disappearances and extra-judicial killings in Sri Lanka are a matter of serious concern.

As I told the House on 2 May 2007, Official Report, columns 1551-1557 during the debate on Sri Lanka, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I have made the UK position clear to the Government of Sri Lanka. There has to be an end to the culture of impunity. Those responsible for human rights violations should be brought to justice. We have welcomed the establishment of a President’s Commission and of an Eminent Persons’ Group to observe the work of the Commission. We shall continue to raise our concerns with the Sri Lankan Government. At the same time, we shall continue to highlight the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s shameful human rights record.

We play an active role in helping to shape EU policy on Sri Lanka. Concerns over human rights figure prominently in EU policy discussions on Sri Lanka.