Nov 26, 2021

Police Scotland ends training of Sri Lanka officers

Police Scotland has announced it is to end its training work with police in Sri Lanka, following concern over human rights abuses in the country.

The force's long-standing involvement with law enforcement in Sri Lanka has been criticised by campaigners and was suspended last year.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has said it will not seek to renew the contract after it expires in March.

Scottish officers have worked with local police in Sri Lanka since 2010.

They have travelled to the country to train on issues including sexual and gender-based violence.

A statement from Mr Livingstone to the Scottish Police Authority said the work had been part of the Foreign Office's conflict stability and security programme but was suspended early last year.

Mr Livingstone said Police Scotland had written to the British high commission in Colombo to advise that they were not going to seek to renew the scheme.

A recent Foreign Office report said the human rights situation in Sri Lanka continued to deteriorate during the first half of 2021.

It said that security forces had increased their surveillance and intimidation of human rights activists and their use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, with a number of arbitrary arrests.

It was also concerned that the government proposed new regulations with powers to arrest and send individuals to rehabilitation centres to be "deradicalised".

Mr Livingstone said: "We remain of course committed to supporting the international development of policing services right across the world so that we can enhance and enable human rights and we can underline the values that we hold dear in Police Scotland of integrity, fairness and respect.

"Those values will always be at the heart of the work we deliver in Scotland and at the heart of everything we do internationally.

(BBC News)

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