Britain applauds appointment of Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation
Parliamentary Under-secretary for the UK Foreign Office, Alistair
Burt applauded the Sri Lankan government for acting on their promise to
the UN and setting up the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.
He said British Prime Minister David Cameron has written to President
Mahinda Rajapaksa to express British support for this Commission.
Burt said now the war is over, the UK government’s primary objective
is to support the development of a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka. He
said the UK government believes the Sri Lankan government recognises the
need for reconciliation and is committed to the process to achieve it.
He said this in response to a demand made by Siobhain McDonagh M.P. (Labour
party) for pressure to be placed on the Sri Lankan Government.
Burt said it is important allegations of war crimes do not overshadow
peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. He added that the Sri Lankan
government must be honest with the past and those involved to prevent
this from happening.
He warned that it is important allegations of war crimes do not
overshadow peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
Under-secretary Burt made this statement addressing the Westminster
Hall Debate (June 16) in the British Parliament premises.
These meetings are open to all MPs and are presided over by a Deputy
On the issue of alleged war crimes, Burt said if Sri Lanka is to
achieve peace and reconciliation it must address the underlying causes
of the conflict and ensure all Sri Lankan communities are treated fairly
Burt detailed how the UK government expects the Lessons Learnt and
Reconciliation Commission to undertake its investigation into
humanitarian issues. He said the Sri Lankan government must show that it
is capable of allowing an independent investigation; issue a proper
public consultation and a realistic mandate; and enable witness
protection for those giving evidence to the investigation.
Burt said the UK government continues to support the humanitarian
response in Sri Lanka and that the International Committee of the Red
Cross should be allowed access to the country in line with international
law. He said the UK government support the statement made at the UN
council meeting last week regarding journalists and humanitarian rights.
Burt said the government would continue the policy of the previous
Labour administration and work with and be open to the views of the UK
Sri Lankan expatriates.
He said now is an “historic moment” for Sri Lanka but it will only
get somewhere if the country moves forward.