British Minister for International Development Gareth Thomas said that despite the fact there was no more war in Sri Lanka the culture of impunity is still prevailing and that is why the British government supported the EU resolution to withdraw the GSP plus trade tariff concessions.
He said that his government has been consistently expressing concerns to Sri Lanka, through diplomatic channels, over allegations of war crimes committed in the country during the final stages of the war.
Speaking at an event in London to mark the first death anniversary of journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga, the British Minister said war crimes allegations in Sri Lanka as well as the killing of Wickramatunga should be investigated independently.
We are very clear that wherever there are substantial allegations of war crimes, they should be probed independently, the British Minister stressed.
The first anniversary remembrance of the slain Sri Lankan journalist and newspaper editor was organised by the Tamil Legal Advocacy Project in the UK. Several Sri Lankans, lawyers, human rights observers and activists attended the event.
The British Minister further noted that the imprisonment of Tamil journalist J.S. Tissanayagam for writing two articles was also completely unacceptable under any democracy.
He added that despite the fact there was no more war in Sri Lanka the culture of impunity is still prevailing and that is why the British government supported the EU resolution to withdraw the GSP plus trade tariff concessions.
Answering a question from the audience, the British Minister confirmed that the UK s arms sale licenses to Sri Lanka has been cancelled .
He, however, said that the British government would continue to provide humanitarian aid for the needy people via international agencies such as the UNICEF and World Food Program