Friday, 17 July 2015 - 14:06
The UK releases a Human Rights report on Sri Lanka, after January 8th
The United Kingdom said following the election of President Maithripala Sirisena in January and the appointment of a new government, the human rights situation in Sri Lanka improved during the first half of 2015, although some concerns remain.
In its update to the 2014 Human Rights and Democracy Report, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said during the first half of 2015, Sri Lanka took a number of positive steps to address human rights and democracy concerns, including establishing new institutions and undertaking legal reforms.
The FCO noted that among others, freedom of expression improved, with exiled journalists invited to return to the country and a number of banned websites unblocked.
The democratic space has opened up with travel bans on foreign nationals visiting the north lifted, and the NGO Secretariat moved from the Ministry of Defence to the Ministry of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs.
Local contacts in the north and east noted a significant reduction in surveillance by security forces with increased space for journalists and civil society activism.
However, the report said challenges remained, including those related to high levels of militarization, such as military involvement in civilian life, and the continued occupation of land by the armed forces.