Britain expects ‘concrete progress’ on Sri Lanka rights

October 16, 2013 (AFP) – Britain will use next month’s Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka to pressure Colombo to make “concrete progress” on human rights and to probe war crimes, the British high commissioner said Wednesday. The main suspect in the killing, a local ruling party politician, was initially arrested, but later freed on bail. No trial date has been fixed.

The 87-year-old queen has only missed the biennial summit once — when it was first held in 1971. In Sri Lanka, she will be represented by her son Prince Charles.

UN rights chief Navi Pillay warned Colombo last month to show “clear progress” towards reining in rights abuses and investigating suspected war crimes by next March, or face an international investigation.

Sri Lanka in May 2009 declared an end to 37-years of ethnic strife, which according to UN estimates, claimed at least 100,000 lives. Prime Minister David Cameron will send a strong message to Colombo to improve its rights record and show a commitment to good governance, said British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka John Rankin.

“The British government will come with a clear message that Sri Lanka needs to make concrete progress on human rights, reconciliation and a political settlem