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UK will 'continue to monitor the situation of detainees' in Sri Lanka

The United Kingdom said that it will continue to monitor the situation of detainees held by the Sri Lankan government under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, and would "raise issues of ongoing concern with the Sri Lankan government".

British Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire responded to questions tabled by member of parliament Joan Ryan regarding Tamil political prisoners by stating Britain continues to "regularly raise matters of concern with the Sri Lankan government, including the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the detention of Tamil political prisoners without trial".

"We noted that on 17 November the hunger strike by Tamil detainees was temporarily suspended until 15 December," added the minister. "We will continue to monitor closely the situation of detainees held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, and to raise issues of ongoing concern with the Sri Lankan government."

Mr Swire added that he met with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in Geneva in September and was "encouraged by our discussion and by his speech to the UN Human Rights Council".

"Amongst other commitments, he told members of the UN Human Rights Council that the Sri Lankan government would review and repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and replace it with anti-terrorism legislation in line with contemporary international best practices," said the minister.

He added that Britain remains "committed to working closely with the Sri Lankan government and international partners to support the implementation of the commitments made by Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in September," and that the UK "warmly welcomed" the resolution.