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Sri Lanka: Armed Forces

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 7695, tabled on 30 October 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of undertaking an independent audit of the adequacy of the UK’s security sector reform program in Sri Lanka.

Answered on

4 November 2019

UK support to security sector development in Sri Lanka is an integrated part of our post-conflict approach to building lasting stability and accountability. We have a long-standing partnership with the Sri Lanka police service where we provide training and support designed to enhance their community policing capacity. We are also engaged in discrete activities involving the military and wider security sector which are designed to to support the Sri Lankan military to adapt and modernise, in particular to be more professional and accountable. As most of this activity is delivered via the Conflict Security and Stability Fund which conducts regular monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the programme, we assess that an independent audit is not required. All CSSF programmes are subject to rigorous annual reviews, which are conducted by an expert team including at least one person who is independent from the programme. Annual review summaries for the Sri Lanka programme are published on gov.uk.

Following the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks that killed more than 250 people, the then Minister of State for Security visited Sri Lanka to demonstrate solidarity, and to offer UK assistance in countering terrorism and violent extremism. We continue to engage with the Sri Lankan authorities and other international partners on where UK support would be most helpful. All UK security sector assistance is subject to robust Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) assessments that analyse the potential human rights, international humanitarian law, political and reputational risks of any proposed assistance to ensure that it supports our values and is consistent with our domestic and international human rights obligations.

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