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NewsUN-Sri LankaSri Lanka : It is too soon to define what any international investigation might consist of The UK Minister of State Hugo Swire

Sri Lanka : It is too soon to define what any international investigation might consist of The UK Minister of State Hugo Swire

by
Hugo Swire

House of Commons – Questions on Sri Lanka, 17 Dec 2013
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress he expects the Sri Lankan government to make on an independent investigation into war crimes and human rights abuses before the UK decides not to pursue a resolution on an international inquiry at the UN Human Rights Council in Mar 2014.

Mr Swire:
During his meeting with President Rajapaksa, the Prime Minister called for the Sri Lankan Government to make real progress on a credible and transparent, independent investigation into allegations of violations of humanitarian and human rights law during the military conflict. The Prime Minister has said that the UK would use its place on the UN Human Rights Council to call for an international investigation if there has been no progress. An assessment will be made at the UN Human Rights Council in March 2014.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on (a) the text of a UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka for the session in March 2014 calling for an international inquiry, (b) the terms of reference for such an inquiry and (c) the membership of such an inquiry. [180495]

Mr Swire: We continue to press the Sri Lankan Government for credible, transparent and independent investigations into alleged war crimes and have made clear that these investigations need to have begun properly by March or we will use our seat on the UN Human Rights Council to call for an international investigation. We regularly discuss Sri Lanka, including accountability, with a range of other EU, Commonwealth and international partners. In those discussions we are exploring options, including the content of a UNHRC Resolution, ahead of the March session. It is too soon to define what any international investigation might consist of.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with which members of the UN Human Rights Council he has discussed the case for an independent, international inquiry into the Sri Lankan civil war; and what recent assessment he has made of the strength of international support for such an inquiry. [180496]
Mr Swire: We regularly discuss Sri Lanka, including accountability and the need for progress on a credible transparent and independent investigation into alleged war crimes ahead of the March UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in March 2014, with a range of other EU, Commonwealth and international partners. The UK has been voted back on to the UNHRC and will play an active role in building international support ahead of the March UNHRC session, where an assessment will be made of Sri Lankan progress to date. The UK previously co-sponsored the UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka in March 2013 which urged Sri Lanka to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. We will coordinate closely with the members of the UNHRC to build support for an appropriate resolution on Sri Lanka.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the ability and willingness of the Sri Lankan Government to conclude an independent investigation into alleged war crimes before March 2014; and what criteria he has set for such an inquiry to be considered credible.
Mr Swire: We have urged the Sri Lankan Government to ensure that a credible, transparent and independent investigation into alleged war crimes has begun properly by March 2014. We have made clear that any investigation must be internationally accepted to be considered credible.

We share the concerns of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, that there have been no credible efforts to independently investigate the allegations to date. Progress will be assessed at the March 2014 UN Human Rights Council.
.(Parliment.uk)

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