Canada, U.K. renew calls for reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Trudeau says his country will "continue to encourage the Sri Lankan government to fulfill its commitment[s]" as stipulated in the October 2015 resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council..

July 24, 2016 08:54 pm | Updated October 18, 2016 03:06 pm IST - COLOMBO:

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau felt that the war and the devastation it wrought “reminds us to heal the wounds of those who have suffered, and to promote unity over division and inclusion over prejudice."

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau felt that the war and the devastation it wrought “reminds us to heal the wounds of those who have suffered, and to promote unity over division and inclusion over prejudice."

Even as Sri Lanka observes 33rd anniversary of the anti-Tamil riots which triggered a long civil war, Canada and the United Kingdom, both known for having a significant number of Tamil diaspora, have renewed their call to Sri Lanka to fulfill commitments on human rights and democracy       

In a statement issued from Ottawa, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau felt that the war and the devastation it wrought “reminds us to heal the wounds of those who have suffered, and to promote unity over division and inclusion over prejudice.”  His country would “continue to encourage the Sri Lankan government to fulfill its commitment[s]” as stipulated in the October 2015 resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Reports of harassment by troops: U.K.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the U.K. government, in its bi-annual report on human rights covering the first half of 2016, stated that NGOs and media continued to report incidents of surveillance, intimidation and harassment by the security forces in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, “although fewer than under the previous government.”  It also referred to the assessment of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture in this context.

The report, giving an account of the government’s steps, said the U.K. had “consistently called” for land releases and de-militarisation of the north to be accelerated. 

London’s training to the military

Taking note of the role of the military in addressing the legacy of Sri Lanka’s long conflict,  the document  said London, earlier this year, started providing “strategic leadership training” to the military, including on understanding and complying with international law and human rights.

Expressing the hope that the “positive trajectory” would continue in the coming months of the year, the UK wanted Sri Lanka to take steps to address areas of concern, which included an increase in nationalist campaigns (such as “Sinhale”) over recent months, targeting religious minorities and the community of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT). 

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