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Sri Lanka: Overseas Aid

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 12 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect of the political situation in Sri Lanka on the distribution of development aid. (139557)

Sri Lanka is a middle-income country and therefore does not receive UK bilateral development aid. As part of its commitment for reconstruction the UK has given £500,000 of post-tsunami funding during 2007-08 to support good governance and small businesses in the North and East. DFID is supporting a programme to strengthen local capacity to plan, implement and monitor tsunami recovery in the north east of the country, to ensure that tsunami relief and development assistance is efficiently and equitably delivered. This programme is in partnership with the Governments of Germany and Sri Lanka.

Through the Global Conflict Prevention Pool, the UK gives £2 million to support a series of programmes aimed at tackling the underlying causes of conflict. Humanitarian assistance and access remains our top priority in Sri Lanka. In light of the recent displacements, UK will be giving £1 million in humanitarian assistance for the estimated 300,000 currently internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sri Lanka made homeless as a result of the upsurge in violence in the last year.

The ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka hampers the efforts of the humanitarian and development agencies to deliver aid effectively. Careful assessments of the political situation and its impact on our aid are regularly made by the joint DFID/FCO office in Sri Lanka. Part of this includes an assessment of humanitarian access, which is sometimes restricted in conflict areas. The UK has signed up with other key donors to the Guiding Principles for Humanitarian and Development Assistance in Sri Lanka. These principles are derived from the International Code of Conduct of Red Cross. One of the basic requirements is to ensure unrestricted access to all people in need of assistance.