UK’s Lord Ahmad stresses on need for progress of human rights in Sri Lanka
Posted on January 20th, 2022

Courtesy The Morning

Holds series of meetings to discuss human rights issues over three-day visit

UK Minister of State Foreign Commonwealth and Development Affairs (Central and South Asia, Commonwealth, UN, Human Rights) Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, during his three-day visit to Sri Lanka, met a series of officials, including President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to discuss key issues revolving around human rights. 

He met President Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (20). On his official Twitter account, Lord Ahmad stated that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss global challenges including climate change and economic recovery from Covid-19”.

He further stated: I emphasised the need for the GoSL (Government of Sri Lanka) to make progress on human rights, reconciliation, and justice and accountability, in line with the UN HRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) process and the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).” 

The President’s Media Division, in a media release, stated that Lord Ahmad had noted that Sri Lanka’s programme to empower human rights is making great strides. He had further stated that Sri Lanka will be able to resolve all issues pertaining to human rights by moving forward with a pragmatic approach to further strengthen it.

Further, Lord Ahmad toured the northern and eastern parts of the island on Wednesday (19).

During the visit, Lord Ahmad had held discussions with Northern Province Governor Jeevan Thiagarajah on the plans for the Northern Province, his priorities, and the need for justice and accountability, and had spoken to Eastern Province Governor Anuradha Yahampath about the Government’s priorities to address key concerns and livelihoods, access to justice, and integrated community relations in the Eastern Province.

Lord Ahmad also visited and paid respect to the ancient Hindu temple Thirukoneswaram while touring Trincomalee.

Further, he met with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Sri Lanka to discuss the UK funding providing income-generating opportunities for the Tamil community Santhai Village.

In a series of Twitter updates about his three-day stay in Sri Lanka, Lord Ahmad also stated that he had held an insightful discussion with Council for Business with Britain (CBB) representing UK companies operating in the market, where he listened to current economic impacts, and thoughts on improving trade between the UK and Sri Lanka.

Lord Ahmad also discussed efforts to support Sri Lanka’s development initiatives with UN Resident Co-ordinator Hanaa Singer-Hamdy. 

We also discussed justice and reconciliation, the protection of human rights, climate initiatives, and improving access to healthcare,” he had said on his official Twitter account.

Further, the UK and Sri Lanka have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on healthcare co-operation, which is expected to improve best practices and expertise on healthcare, and develop an ethical and sustainable recruitment programme for the employment of Sri Lankan healthcare professionals in the UK. It was inked by State Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Market Diversification Piyankara Jayaratne and Ministry of Health Secretary Dr. S.H. Munasinghe from the GoSL, and Lord Ahmad on behalf of the UK Government.

Further, he also discussed a broad range of issues, including co-operation on environmental issues, and human rights with a focus on reconciliation and justice with Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris.

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