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Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

FCO Minister Hugo Swire has departed Sri Lanka after completing his programme and attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

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Hugo Swire speaking at the Commonwealth Peoples Forum.

The Minister’s schedule took in meetings with the Sri Lankan government and a wide variety of Sri Lanka’s political and civil society.

Mr Swire also played a leading role in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) Foreign Minister’s meetings. As the Minister made clear before arriving in Colombo, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and Mr Swire attended CHOGM in Sri Lanka in support of the Commonwealth, but also to allow Britain’s leaders to see what was happening in Sri Lanka regarding human rights, freedom for the media, democracy, and reconciliation.

The Minister gave speeches at the Commonwealth Business Forum, the Commonwealth People’s Forum and the Commonwealth Games meeting hosted by the Commonwealth Games Federation.

During his programme, the Minister spoke with human rights campaigners and the families of people who have disappeared during and after the war, minority religious leaders and others who talked about their experiences of peace and reconciliation. Some of the stories he heard were heartbreaking, other people were hopeful that peace and reconciliation will flourish.

He also spoke with various political parties (United National Party, Tamil National Alliance) and to members of the Sri Lankan government about the current situation and urged all sides to continue to strengthen post-conflict reconciliation efforts and accountability for events during the conflict.

Finally, the Minister visited the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery where he laid a wreath in tribute to the Commonwealth soldiers who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars.

Further information

Follow the UK’s news from Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting on storify

Follow Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire on twitter @HugoSwire

Follow the Foreign Office on twitter @foreignoffice

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Published 17 November 2013