The British Government says it hopes to see Sri Lanka implement the resolution which it co-sponsored at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last October, ahead of the June 2016 UNHRC session.
UK Minister of State Hugo Swire, who begins a visit to Sri Lanka today, said that he has been encouraged and impressed by President Maithripala Sirisena’s Government, his commitment to tackle the legacy of Sri Lanka’s conflict – which has cast a shadow for too many years – and his keenness to restore democracy, underpinned by a stable, secure and integrated country.
During his visit Swire will welcome the Sri Lankan Government’s commitment to reconciliation and strengthening democracy since the end of its civil war, as well as progress made so far. His discussions will focus on further developing cooperation between the two countries and on UK support for Sri Lankan efforts to tackle the legacy of the conflict.
During his three-day visit, Swire will meet President Maithripela Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and a number of other Ministers.
“I am delighted to be visiting Sri Lanka. It is almost a year since my last visit and I am struck by how far Sri Lanka has come in that short time. Today, I see a country in which many Sri Lankans, of all ethnicities, can look forward to a brighter future than was imaginable just twelve months ago. The United Kingdom has much to offer Sri Lanka and we are determined to help, not least through our Prime Minister’s commitment to a further £6.6 million of support over the next 3 years. We want to see all Sri Lankans reaping the benefits of sustainable prosperity, underpinned by a stable and secure country,” Swire said.
The Minister will also visit Jaffna where he will meet the Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council Justice Wigneswaran and be a guest of the Prime Minister at the National Thai Pongal celebrations.
Swire will also meet families living on land cleared from mines thanks to HALO Trust – a British demining charity – who have now removed 200,000 mines to make land safe for resettling displaced people.
He will finish his visit to Sri Lanka in Galle where he will attend the Literary Festival. (Colombo Gazette)