Foreign Secretary William Hague:
Further to my written Ministerial statement of 18 March [40WS], the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution on Sri Lanka on 27 March. This resolution calls for an international investigation into allegations of violations and abuses of international law on both sides during the civil war, and for progress on reconciliation, human rights and a political settlement. The British Government is pleased with this outcome and strongly believes that it was the right decision.
My right Honourable friend the Prime Minister committed the UK to calling for an international investigation following his visit to Sri Lanka last year where he witnessed the situation on the ground first hand. The UK was an important co-sponsor of the resolution, alongside the US, Montenegro, Macedonia and Mauritius.
The passing of this resolution sends an important and strong message to the Sri Lankan government – that they must address the grievances of the recent past in order to help secure lasting peace and reconciliation, and a prosperous future for all the people of Sri Lanka. The resolution represents a significant step forward in ensuring the truth is established for the Sri Lankan people.
By voting in favour of this resolution, the international community has shown that it has listened to the many independent voices, including the High Commissioner for Human Rights herself and domestic support in Sri Lanka, calling for an international investigation and helped the UN HRC to establish a strong and unambiguous resolution. The United Kingdom will continue to work with the UN HRC and our international partners to ensure proper implementation of this resolution. We encourage the Sri Lankan government fully to co-operate with the resolution, and to work alongside the international community for the benefit of its people.
It is important also to recognise that Sri Lanka is an extraordinary country with enormous potential and the end of the conflict presents an opportunity for it to become a strong and prosperous nation. This resolution will help to address the legitimate concerns of all communities. It presents an opportunity to tackle the root causes of conflict, continued human rights concerns and set Sri Lanka on the right path for reconciliation. We hope that the Sri Lankan government will embrace that opportunity.