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Sri Lanka: Human Rights

Volume 697: debated on Tuesday 15 June 2021

At the UN Human Rights Council in March, we successfully led a new resolution which expresses deep concern about the situation in Sri Lanka and enhances the UN’s monitoring role. For the first time, it requests that the UN collect evidence of human rights violations, for use in future accountability processes. We continue to engage with the Government of Sri Lanka on that process.

As chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Tamils and on behalf of Tamils in Carshalton and Wallington, I thank the FCDO for its work in securing this new resolution at the UNHRC sessions. However, more can and should be done to provide accountability for the brutal war crimes committed during the Sri Lankan civil war. What actions can my hon. Friend take to ensure that evidence collected satisfies conditions for sanctions against current Sri Lankan officials who are credibly accused of overseeing the enforced disappearance and sexual assault of thousands of Sri Lankan civilians during the conflict?

As my hon. Friend will know, this Government have led international efforts over many years to promote accountability, reconciliation and human rights in Sri Lanka, including at the UN Human Rights Council. The new UK-led resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council in March included, for the first time, a request for the UN

“to collect, consolidate, analyse and preserve information and evidence”

of human rights abuses and violations so that this can be used to support future accountability processes.