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Sri Lanka: Minority Groups

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL15526, tabled on 7 May 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to assist Pakistani Ahmadi and Christian refugees, fleeing persecution in Pakistan and awaiting determination of their asylum cases in Sri Lanka, who are seeking refuge in police stations and elsewhere due to fear of targeted attacks on minorities.

Answered on

16 May 2019

The British Government has agreed with Sri Lankan counterparts the need for inclusivity and respect for human rights in their response to the Easter Sunday attacks and underlined the importance of Sri Lankans working together to reduce intercommunal tensions. Minister for Security and Economic Crime Ben Wallace visited Sri Lanka on 2-3 May and reiterated these points.

We have raised concerns with the Sri Lankan Government at reports of incidents of violence and intimidation against Muslims, refugees and asylum seekers since the Easter Sunday attacks. We have also raised concerns specifically about the situation in Negombo, where approximately 1,050 refugees were displaced from their ordinary places of residence and are now being temporarily housed.

The British High Commission in Colombo is in regular contact with the Sri Lankan Government, UN agencies and civil society organisations who are working towards a sustainable solution, including to identify secure relocation options to ensure protection of both refugees and asylum seekers.

The Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific and I have both met the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in recent weeks to raise concerns about refugees and minority rights in Sri Lanka. The Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific also addressed this issue in the House of Commons on 9 May.