Britain said that the current ‘very challenging economic situation’ in Sri Lanka does not distract from efforts to improve human rights there.

UK’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Vicky Ford informed the UK Parliament on Tuesday that although the articles of the IMF do allow for conditionality linked to economic policy or to tackle the balance of payments, there is no provision to impose political-linked or human rights-linked conditionality in the IMF process. Therefore, “we will work with fellow members of international debt forums on a solution to the country’s debt problem, as well as continuing to lobby the Sri Lankan Government and working in other international forums on human rights,” she said in a written response to a question.

She also said that the UK is closely monitoring the difficult human rights situation and the lack of progress towards post-conflict accountability in Sri Lanka. “It is important that the current economic situation does not distract from human rights. We urge the Sri Lankan Government to engage meaningfully with United Nations Human Rights Council resolution 46/1. We continue to raise our concerns in international forums, including by doing so at the UNHRC on June 4,” she said.

She also stated that UK Prime Minister during a recent telephone conversation with Sri Lanka PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has underlined the UK’s continuing support for the people of Sri Lanka during their economic difficulties. “He (UK PM) has offered UK support through multilateral organisations such as the World Bank and IMF, and international forums such as the Paris Club. We have a very significant voice on international debt forums, and we are working closely with Paris Club members and multilateral organisations to find solutions to the debt crisis,” she added.