British opposition urges government to halt deportations to Sri Lanka

Britain’s opposition has called upon the government to stop sending Sri Lankans back to the country given the likelihood of a Sinhala nationalist hardliner accused of grave human rights violation regaining power.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, controversially appointed as the 'prime minister' of Sri Lanka by president Maithripala Sirisena, continue to occupy office despite being twice stripped of his post by parliament.

'Review asylum policy'

In a strongly worded statement Shadow Foreign Minister has described the appointment as a move that “breaches the constitution and threatens to destabilise the country”.

“I urge President Sirisena to reconvene parliament and seek to appoint a prime minister through legal channels,” said Liz McInnes.

“I would also urge the UK Home Office to halt the removal of Sri Lankan nationals and urgently review the UK’s asylum policy on Sri Lanka. There is an increased risk to the safety of many Sri Lankans.”

Sri Lanka was thrown into political instability after President Maithripala Sirisena appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister on October 26 in a bid to unseat Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Corruption & rights abuse

Earlier, Freedom From Torture (FfT) the largest British organisation treating torture victims from around the world called the Theresa May led government to stop all forced returns to Sri Lanka.

The British Shadow Foreign Minister highlights the tainted human rights record of the disputed premier.

“During his time as President, Mahinda Rajapaksa was accused of corruption and mass human rights abuses during a civil war that ended in 2009. It is of critical importance that accountability and justice are secured for alleged crimes – as was promised to Sri Lankans – in order to find true peace and reconciliation.”

On 23 November Sri Lanka parliament is to vote on a motion by  several ministers in the Ranil Wickremesinghe government ousted by the president to stop providing state funds and assets to the Rajapaksa administration.☐



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.