UK’s Minister of State for Asia-Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Mark Field, ahead of a visit to Sri Lanka, said that it is ‘unfortunate’ and ‘unfair’ to represent the Geneva resolution as interference by the international community in Sri Lanka’s domestic affairs.
The UK Minister’s visit follows President Maitripala Sirisena’s speech last week at the UN General Assembly where he urged the international community to allow Sri Lankan people to solve their problems on their own and as an independent country it did not want any foreign power to exert influence on it.
UK’s Minister Mark Field who will be arriving in the country this evening said in an op-ed article to the Daily Mirror: “There are also those who like to represent the Geneva resolution in particular as interference by the international community in Sri Lanka’s domestic affairs. This is unfortunate and unfair. The UK, along with many other friends of Sri Lanka, continues to warmly endorse the government’s principled decision to co-sponsor a resolution that provides a valuable framework for peacebuilding and reconciliation.”
“Next March the UNHRC will assess the progress Sri Lanka has made. In Colombo I will be urging the government to drive forward its reconciliation efforts with a clear plan for delivery, and offering the UK’s steadfast support for their efforts,” he said.
“So what will I be focusing on specifically when in Colombo this week?
“Finding the truth is fundamental. The experience of countries that have recovered – or are recovering – from conflict around the world is that this is essential to restoring real confidence among communities, between citizens and the armed forces, and between voters and governments. To this end, I would like to see much more progress on national accountability and truth-seeking mechanisms that Sri Lanka committed to in 2015.
"The Prevention of Terrorism Act is something I am regularly asked about by the diaspora and others here in the UK. We would like to see it replaced, as part of wider security sector reform, with a new Counter-Terrorism Act which meets international standards. I am glad that the UK has been able to share its experiences in this area.
"There is also an ongoing process to consider reform to important provisions of the Constitution, including devolution of political authority. I hope that a way forward can be found on this central issue."
Read full Op-ed article
Why does reconciliation in Sri Lanka matter to the UK?