The British government says it continues to look to Sri Lanka to demonstrate its commitment to upholding the Commonwealth values of good governance and respect for human rights.
Senior Minister of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government and Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, said that a decision has not been taken yet on Britain’s attendance at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November.
She said this in reply to a question posed on Sri Lanka at the British House of Lords.
“The UK regularly raises concerns about the human rights situation with the Sri Lankan Government and in international fora including the current Human Rights Council session,” Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.
She recalled that the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Alistair Burt raised concerns with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister during his visit to the country on 31 January-2 February.
Recently Lord Wallace of Saltaire had told the House of Lords that the Government of Sri Lanka faces considerable challenges and Britain continues to raise questions about how well Sri Lanka is doing in post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation.
He said the the most difficult area that has been raised is on the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo.
“We continue to consider our position on what sort of representation we will provide for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting when it takes place,” he said.
He also said that some progress has been made, for example on economic development, demining and the rehabilitation of child soldiers.
He however said the impeachment of the Chief Justice was “distressing” as it affects the rule of law within the country.
British Member of Parliament Simon Danczuk who was in Sri Lanka recently had said that he will push for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka to be moved out over human rights concerns. (Colombo Gazette)