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Humanitarian Aid: Sri Lanka

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent reports he has received on the murder of aid workers in Sri Lanka; and what guidance his Department is making available for UK aid workers in Sri Lanka. (144482)

We have received several representations from the British and Sri Lankan NGO communities about the murder of two Red Cross workers on 2 June and the deaths of 17 workers from a French NGO in August 2006. We have raised the issue of humanitarian security with the Sri Lankan Government repeatedly and pressed for the perpetrators of these appalling crimes to be brought to justice.

The UK advises British nationals, including aid workers, against all travel to the north and east of Sri Lanka. Ultimately aid workers and the agencies that employ them are responsible for their own security. Staff at the British High Commission in Colombo meet representatives of the British NGO community on a monthly basis to share information on security and other operational issues. Aid workers are also encouraged to register their presence in Sri Lanka with the British High Commission. Where appropriate, the FCO will support British nationals who are caught up in conflict, civil unrest and natural catastrophes.