Saturday, 12 April 2014 00:00
Sri Lanka has been listed as a “country of concern” by the British Government in its latest annual human rights report released on Thursday.
The report which looks at the human rights situations around the world in 2013 notes that the human rights situation in Sri Lanka was of serious concern last year.
“Although progress continued on post-conflict issues, such as re-building of infrastructure, and elections took place for the first time in the north of the country, the overall trend was negative in many respects. Attacks against journalists continued, and Sri Lanka fell in independent indices on press freedom and women’s rights. The impeachment of the Chief Justice exacerbated concerns about a culture of impunity, and the extent to which the independence of some institutions had been eroded,” the report said.
The report says Britain sees accountability for alleged war crimes, respect for human rights, and a political settlement as essential elements of post-conflict reconciliation.
The UK will continue to urge the government of Sri Lanka to address serious human rights issues, and work with government and civil society to improve freedom of expression, women’s rights, electoral processes, and the rule of law.
Meanwhile in an update on the human rights situation over the first three months of this year, the report said that the human rights situation in Sri Lanka has not improved during the past three months. It said that reports from the north of detention and harassment of activists continued.
There was also no improvement in the situation for freedom of expression during the last three months. Sri Lanka dropped three places to 165 out of 180 in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index.
Positively, however the report noted that there was some progress in the investigation into the 2011 murder of British national Khuram Shaikh. The trial commenced in the Colombo High Court on 26 March and is due to continue in the coming months.