In Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office questions I asked the Minister for Asia what the UK government is doing to place pressure on the Sri Lankan government to meet its human rights obligations set out under UN resolution 30/1, and to cease its unscientific policy of forced Covid cremations:
Stephen Kinnock: We on the Opposition Benches believe that the Government’s foreign policy should be rooted in our country’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law. Therefore, we deeply regret that in February 2020 the Sri Lankan Government withdrew from their Human Rights Council obligations to promote reconciliation and accountability following the country’s devastating civil war. More recently, the Sri Lankan Government have introduced forced cremation for covid-19 victims, a policy that has absolutely no basis in science, rides roughshod over the traditional practices of Sri Lankan religious minorities and has rightly caused hurt and outrage among Muslim and Christian communities across the UK. So I ask the Minister: what steps has he taken to persuade the Sri Lankan Government to end forced cremations, what work is he doing with international partners ahead of the next Human Rights Council session in March to ensure that the Sri Lankan Government re-engages with the peace, reconciliation and accountability process, and what discussions has he had about human rights in the context of UK-Sri Lankan trade deal negotiations?