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Britain wants more progress in Sri Lanka

Britain wants more progress in Sri Lanka

Colombo: Britain said Wednesday that it wants to see more progress in post-war Sri Lanka, including on accountability for some of the incidents reported to have taken place during the war.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is in Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth summit, said the country must end the culture of impunity and sexual violence, Xinhua reported.

Hague is leading international efforts to stop sexual abuse of women, men and children during conflict.

Britain has been urging the Sri Lankan government and other Commonwealth countries to join the group of 134 countries that have signed the UN Declaration of Commitment to end sexual violence in conflict.

"Dealing with the legacy of sexual violence, bringing those responsible to justice, and helping the survivors to rebuild their lives with dignity are absolutely critical to reconciliation and long-term stability here in Sri Lanka as it has been in conflicts around the world," he said.

Hague noted that since the end of the war in 2009, there has been progress which Britain welcomes, including on civilians being resettled, infrastructure rebuilt, land mines removed, provincial elections held in the North, and many former Tamil combatants reintegrated back into Sri Lankan society.

He said he would urge the Sri Lankan government to investigate the cases as they deserve and that means carrying out credible and independent investigations and providing greater support to victims and passing strong witness protection legislation, so that justice is not undermined by social stigma and intimidation.

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