Britain has expressed concern over reports of a culture of impunity for rape and sexual violence in Sri Lanka and a lack of support for victims as well as over reports of the use of sexual violence as a means of torture in custody.
In a response to a question raised in the British Parliament, Hugo Swire the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office told Parliament that his government aimed to address impunity for crimes of conflict-related sexual violence wherever these might occur.
“We have engaged significantly with Sri Lanka on this issue. When the Foreign Secretary visited Sri Lanka in November 2013 to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), he hosted an event to highlight concerns about allegations of sexual violence in Sri Lanka during and after the conflict, and urged Sri Lanka to sign up to the UN Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. The UK is also supporting projects to ensure a zero tolerance approach to rape and sexual violence in Sri Lanka. Our presence at CHOGM also ensured that the final communiqué at the Commonwealth Heads of Government in Colombo in November 2013 contained the first ever commitment by member states to take action to prevent and respond to sexual violence,” he said.