UK hints at restart of police training in Sri Lanka despite human rights abuse
Posted on January 23rd, 2022

The UK Government may ­continue training police officers in Sri Lanka despite Police Scotland pulling out of the contract amid escalating concern around human rights abuses.

Human rights campaigners and politicians had urged the Scots force to stop the training programme when survivors, who endured rape, electric shocks and torture while being held by Sri Lankan police, told of their ordeal after fleeing to Scotland.

Police Scotland, which had insisted its long-standing contract had improved the standard of policing in Sri Lanka, dropped the training contract last month but the UK Government has now signalled its willingness to resume the programmes with another force.

A letter from the Foreign Office said: Police Scotland’s decision does not mean that there will be no future programme of UK-funded support to the Sri Lankan police. The British High Commission is considering its approach to any future programme and the ongoing review will be taken into account alongside a number of other factors. We continue to engage with the Government of Sri Lanka on these important issues.”

However, Frances Harrison of the International Truth and Justice Project said: The news is deeply disappointing. When Police Scotland announced it would not continue with its contract, it sent out a powerful statement and showed the UK was taking a stand against the abuses going on in Sri Lanka. But this opens the door once again.”

Torture victims told The Sunday Post last year of abuse suffered after being snatched off the streets in Sri Lanka by police and special forces. They endured days of waterboarding, electric shocks, being burned by cigarettes and branded, and were sexually assaulted repeatedly by their captors.Read more:

Scottish politicians are planning to invite survivors to Holyrood to hear the victims’ experiences first-hand, and MSP Mercedes Villalba criticised the UK Government.

There is no evidence to suggest previous support from British police helped improve human rights in Sri Lanka,” she said. In fact, there have been reports that abuses ‘surged’ during the pandemic. It is therefore inexcusable for the UK Government to countenance further support for Sri Lankan forces. ”

Scottish Conservative Shadow Social Justice Secretary Miles Briggs said: This is simply unacceptable and I will be writing to the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office to ask for clarification.”

The FCDO said: All of HMG’s security engagement in Sri Lanka is subject to ongoing Overseas Security & Justice Assistance review assessments to ensure it supports UK values and is consistent with our human rights obligations. Our police training programme in Sri Lanka is undergoing a review due to the broader human rights situation.

The Minister of State for South Asia, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, has raised human rights on several occasions with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister GL Peiris last year.

The Foreign Secretary raised the importance of upholding human rights when she met with Foreign Minister Peiris on October 26.”

2 Responses to “UK hints at restart of police training in Sri Lanka despite human rights abuse”

  1. aloy Says:

    Yes, Brits established the police force with so called ‘Malay Regiment’. And with that they introduced the ‘pagawa’ also.

    Pagawa is derived from Malay word pegawei which means officer. The officer’s share has become a plague today not only here but in those countries, too.

    I wonder what else, people of the ilk of ‘Lord Ahmad’ (parasites trying to fish in troubled waters) would bring in this time around.

  2. aloy Says:

    UK would do well to put their house in order first.

    Interestingly, there are three Malay speaking countries where UK doesn’t have influence and they are fast developing.

    Indonesia takes the lead with a pragmatic leader, Joko Widodo who was an ordinary timber merchant. They first abolished the slave trade od sending their women o ME countries and today their country is moving from strength to strength. They are even going to change their capital from Jakartha to Kalimanthan province in Borneo island. Malaysia which has no truck with UK is already a developed country and so is Brunei.

    Looking at he way UK is handling SL, we should look at alternatives instead on hanging on to its aprons.

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