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UK ‘concerned’ about human rights in Sri Lanka
Tamil Guardian 30 April 2012 Print ArticleE-mail ArticleFeedback On Article

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has released its annual human rights report and has listed Sri Lanka as a country of concern, along with countries such as North Korea, Iran, Russia and Syria.

Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke at the launch of the report in London on Monday and welcomed the many positive moves towards democracy that had occurred around the world in the past year.

Mr Hague added that Britain’s main focus will be on those countries, whose human rights have not shown any improvements or deteriorated over the past year.

“Human rights is an indivisible part of our Government’s foreign policy, running throughout all our diplomacy:

"From our support for international institutions of justice, whose importance have been re-confirmed by the conclusion of the trial of Charles Taylor last week to our active diplomacy on an International Arms Trade Treaty; from our insistence on human rights clauses in EU Free Trade Agreements to our work in the United Nations”

Mr Hague outlined a change in policy, whereas countries will from now on be reviewed on their human rights situation quarterly, rather than annually.

On Sri Lanka the report said that its human rights picture in 2011 ‘was mixed'.

While noting the ‘wide-ranging’ recommendations of the LLRC, the report criticised the lack of concrete progress in holding those alleged to be responsible for international humanitarian law violations accountable.

The report states that the UK “sees accountability for alleged war crimes, respect for human rights and a political settlement as being essential elements in post-conflict reconciliation.”

It adds that in 2012 the UK will focus on the ‘follow-up’ of the LLRC and National Human Rights Action Plan and will encourage the Government of Sri Lanka "to implement recommendations, and address outstanding questions regarding accountability for alleged war crimes".

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