UK State Minister commends Sri Lanka’s progress in human rights

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The United Kingdom’s State Minister for South Asia, United Nations and the Commonwealth, Lord Tariq Ahmad said that Sri Lanka’s program to empower human rights is making great strides.

He further stated that Sri Lanka will be able to resolve all issues pertaining to human rights by moving forward with a pragmatic approach to further strengthen it.

Minister Ahmad made these remarks when he called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat this morning (20), President’s Media Division said.

As Minister of State for South Asia, the United Nations and Commonwealth, Lord Ahmad has been entrusted with a number of responsibilities including co-operation with the Indian Ocean region, Central Asia and the Commonwealth.

Responding to a request made by the President to assist Sri Lanka in achieving its goals in the renewable energy sector by overcoming technical hurdles, Lord Ahmad said he would look into the matter as soon as possible when he returns to his country and extend all possible assistance in this regard.

He pointed out that facilitating investment in Sri Lanka could attract more investors, adding that people living in the United Kingdom belonging to different ethnic groups were looking forward to making new investments in Sri Lanka.

An agreement has been already signed with the United Kingdom to provide employment opportunities for Sri Lankan healthcare workers. Lord Ahmad also promised to explore the possibility of developing cooperation in the economic sphere.

The visiting Minister emphasized the need for the Government of Sri Lanka to make progress on human rights, reconciliation, and justice and accountability, in line with the UNHRC process and the SDGs.

The Sri Lankan Government aims to solve all the issues faced by Sri Lankans and create an environment where all Sri Lankans can live as one people, the President assured.

Expressing the willingness to work with the Sri Lankan Diaspora in the United Kingdom in this regard, President Rajapaksa requested Lord Tariq Ahmad to provide an opportunity for discussions with the Diaspora.

Lord Ahmad said that the United Kingdom is always ready to work in harmony as a close and pragmatic friend of Sri Lanka.

The year 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka. A celebration is planned to be held to mark this milestone.

Discussions were also held to promote the cultural and artistic aspects of the two countries and to enhance the relationship between the people of the two countries during these celebrations.

British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Sarah Hulton, First Secretary Mathew Deith, Lord Tariq Ahmad’s Assistant Isabelle Scott, Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, Secretary to the President Gamini Senarath, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage were also present.

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