Sri Lanka war solution requires ‘trust-building’: Britain

July 17, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s former colonial ruler Britain has called for trust between multi-ethnic communities to end Sri Lanka’s spiralling violence, while also voicing concerns about rights abuses. British lawmaker Mark Malloch-Brown told reporters in Colombo that London was worried about an escalation in the separatist conflict, which has left scores dead on both sides.

“The way forward has to rest much more on effectively building trust among communities,” said Malloch-Brown, Britain’s minister for Africa, Asia and the UN.

“Trust must be underpinned by a fair justice system, not to allow journalists to be intimidated, physically hurt and all those things you need for a functioning democracy,” the minister said.

Malloch-Brown said he shared his views with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and senior government officials during his three-day visit.

“They have to take human rights issues seriously, end the climate of impunity. Until they do that, their own political legacy is not a success.”

The minister’s comments came as Sri Lanka’s army chief said recently his forces have wiped out the conventional military capability of the Tamil Tigers, but that they needed another