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Debate on Human Rights in SL at UK House of Commons today

[DailyMirror, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 08:40 No Comment]

The British charity Freedom from Torture has said that today’s (February 22) scheduled debate on ‘Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ at the UK House of Commons is “perfect timing” for UK parliamentarians to send a clear signal to the Sri Lankan government ahead of the 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which commences in Geneva next week.

The organisation which is lobbying to stop deportations to Sri Lanka has said, “This February, it is more important than ever to demand that the UK government takes action to bring an end to impunity for torture in Sri Lanka and help protect those in the UK who could be at risk of torture if they are forcibly removed to the country.”

It has called on the UK government “to play a leading role in securing a resolution on accountability for international crimes committed during the Sri Lankan civil war and for torture and other serious human rights violations that have continued to occur in the period since the war ended.”

Freedom from Torture has also pointed out that a number of Sri Lankans, including refused asylum seekers, are due to be forcibly removed from the UK on February 28, the day after which the 19th UNHRC session will commence.

“Based on the evidence we have documented, Freedom from Torture is hugely concerned that individuals could be at risk of torture on return. The UK government has a duty to ensure that it is not returning people to torture,” the charity said.

A petition by Freedom from Torture which has attracted 1449 signatures thus far, has urged the British Government to:

1. Ensure that the UK does not return individuals to a risk of torture in Sri Lanka, including by:

∙Ensuring that UK Border Agency decision-making on Sri Lanka asylum claims is adequately informed by relevant evidence of torture and other human rights abuses;

∙Instigate effective monitoring of individuals forcibly removed while serious concerns of ongoing torture remain;

2. Declare its support for an international investigation of alleged war crimes and other serious human rights violations committed during the end of conflict period, and;

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