Britain puts Sri Lanka on notice over rights

Dec 10, 2007 (AFP) – Britain’s top envoy to Sri Lanka Monday asked the government to improve its human rights record and politically end the island’s drawn out Tamil separatist conflict or risk international sanctions.

British High Commissioner (ambassador) Dominick Chilcott said the UK had a direct interest in ending the conflict in its former colony, partly because of the law and order problems in London caused by rival Sri Lankan groups.

Chilcott, making his final public appearance before his posting as number two in the British mission in Washington early next year, issued thinly veiled warnings on the government to improve its rights record.

Sri Lanka has repeatedly resisted calls for United Nations monitoring of human rights amidst allegations that over 1,000 people had been killed or disappeared at the hands of government forces fighting Tamil rebels this year.

Chilcott warned that it would be a mistake to view something as sensitive as human rights as a purely internal matter.

“Those who argue for the inviolability of the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a country are swimming against the tide of history,” he said while adding that intervention may not always mean