Baroness Anelay will visit Colombo and Jaffna from 6 to 9 November, on her first official visit to Sri Lanka.
During her visit the minister will reiterate the UK’s commitment to supporting Sri Lanka in strengthening democracy and human rights (including tackling gender based and sexual violence), delivering reconciliation and combating corruption.
The minister will discuss these issues with Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, Foreign Minister Samaraweera and Opposition Leader and Leader of Tamil National Alliance R. Sampanthan.
In Jaffna, Baroness Anelay will meet the Governor of the Northern Province Reginald Cooray and Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council C.V. Wigneswaran. The minister will also meet recent returnees to land cleared of mines by British demining charity The HALO Trust.
While in Colombo, Baroness Anelay will meet with members of civil society to discuss reconciliation and human rights.
As the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, the minister will also raise awareness of the need to tackle the stigmatisation of sexual violence and will meet with civil society organisations working on preventing sexual violence.
Baroness Anelay will highlight the importance of female participation in the reconciliation process and the need for comprehensive strategies for tackling sexual and gender-based violence.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Baroness Anelay said:
It is a privilege to undertake my first official visit to Sri Lanka at a time of such opportunity for the country to comprehensively address the issues of the past and build lasting peace and reconciliation. The UK Government remains firmly committed to support the Sri Lankan Government in this endeavour, which will help ensure the future stability and prosperity of the country.
I look forward to discussing the progress made on these issues and hearing of the steps taken to tackle sexual and gender-based violence to create an environment where women are able to exercise their free choice over all aspects of their lives, without the threat of violence.
The UK is providing Sri Lanka £6.6 million in support over the next 3 years, in the areas of reconciliation, reform and prosperity. To read more about what the UK is doing to support reconciliation and human rights in Sri Lanka, click here.