Comments come less than a month ahead of the CHOGM meet in Sri Lanka

Britain wants Sri Lanka to make concrete progress in investigating alleged war crimes and human rights violations, British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka John Rankin said here on Wednesday.

His comments made at the Foreign Correspondents’ Association here come less than a month ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Sri Lanka.

Observing that Sri Lanka ought to address militarisation, resolve land issues and work towards witness protection, Mr. Rankin said recommendations regarding these did not come from outside, but were part of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report. Though the progress made post-war was welcomed by Britain, it was slower than what Britain would wish for, he said.

In addition to issues over a political settlement in the north, the United Kingdom was also concerned about wider issues of respect for human rights, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka. “Again, values in those areas are not U.K.-specific values, or Western values. They are values to which all the Commonwealth members have signed up,” he said.

Suggesting that the Commonwealth would continue shining the spotlight on Sri Lanka even after the November summit, he said Britain hoped that Sri Lanka, as the host of CHOGM and as incoming chair, would respect those values. The Prince of Wales, he said, would represent Her Majesty The Queen at CHOGM.

Mr. Rankin, who is also High Commissioner to the Maldives, said Britain was concerned about the annulment of the presidential elections there.