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Envoy briefed on sexual violence

2014 Feb 24

British High Commissioner hands over books at the nurseryThe British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, John Rankin was briefed on challenges faced in Jaffna, including sexual violence, during his two day visit to the area, the British High Commission in Colombo said today.

The British envoy said he also discussed land issues in the North, including the High Security Zones (HSZs) and the role and level of military presence.

“We noted the continuing challenges – including finding a durable solution for the remaining IDPs – and heard about the problems faced by single women and women heads of households, including from sexual violence. We also engaged with the Chief Minister and the Governor on how the Northern Provincial Council can function more fully,” he said in a statement issued by the High Commission.

The High Commission said that Rankin’s Jaffna visit is one of the many visits the High Commission makes around the country to see for themselves the situation on the ground.

“My team and I met a range of individuals and groups who continue to play a significant role in Jaffna. We’ve seen the continuing welcome economic development and discussed how it can trickle down to benefit all sections of society. We also discussed how the diaspora can support inward investment,” he said..

During his visit, the High Commissioner met a variety of individuals and groups, including the Chief Minister of the Northern Province, Justice C V Wigneswaran, the Security Forces Commander, Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera, the Jaffna Governor, G A Chandrasiri, members of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and Members of Parliament, members of the Northern Provincial Council, international agencies working in the area and civil society.

“Nobody to whom I spoke wished a return of LTTE terrorism. And nor, emphatically, do we want to see that happen again. In all our discussions, we highlighted the continued importance of addressing issues of accountability, the vital importance of pursuing long-term reconciliation and the need for respect for human rights. We believe that positive developments in these areas will contribute to peace and prosperity for all the people of Sri Lanka,” he said.

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