MACASKILL CALLS FOR POLICE SCOTLAND TO CEASE TRAINING IN SRI LANKA OVER HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill MP has called on Police Scotland to cease engagement with its counterparts in Sri Lanka until such times as its government adheres to international human rights. Mr MacAskill has written to Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans calling for Sri Lanka to be designated a “Red list” country and urging the Scottish Government to direct Police Scotland to cease any involvement with their counterparts in Sri Lanka if they have not already done so.
In addition Mr MacAskill has published a short paper, “Police Scotland and Sri Lanka” (attached) setting out: the background to Police Scotland’s activities in relation to Sri Lanka; the confirmed examples of human rights abuses; and the action which is now required by the Scottish Government and Police Scotland in order to uphold Scotland’s strong reputation for advocating human rights both at home and internationally.
In a statement Kenny MacAskill MP said:
“There has been a lack of clarity with mixed messages from Police Scotland about their current involvement in Sri Lanka. I am calling for the Scottish Government to confirm that all involvement in the training of police Scotland has ceased. If that is not the case then the Scottish Government must intervene and direct Police Scotland to cease all involvement in the training of police forces in Sri Lanka until such times as its government adheres to and upholds internationally accepted human rights.
“It is now clear that the political situation in Sri Lanka has changed and deteriorated significantly since Police Scotland first got involved in training Sri Lankan forces following the end of the civil war. Under the current government there has been considerable change to policing and clear violations of human rights, including police brutality. A number of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) have confirmed these human rights violations and abuses.
“The work of Police Scotland’s International development unit has been rightly praised and this work should continue. Sri Lankan authorities are using Police Scotland as cover to deny repression and breaches of human rights. Therefore it is incumbent on the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and any other governmental agency that none of their activities can in any way be seen as legitimising Sri Lanka’s human rights abuses.
“Scotland has a long tradition of supporting human rights both at home and abroad. Scotland’s reputation for advocating strongly for human rights requires the Scottish Government and Police Scotland to provide the assurances being sought”.