Scottish police must stop training Sri Lankan officers if allegations of state-sanctioned torture are confirmed, according to the UN investigator behind a devastating report on alleged human rights violations in the country. Sri Lanka, according to a report published by Sunday Post from Scotland yesterday.
The report says: “Professor Manfred Nowak, former United Nations special rapporteur on human rights, called on Holyrood to launch an investigation into allegations of police brutality made by refugees fleeing Sri Lanka for Scotland. .
If their demands are established, he said, the Scottish National Force must end its controversial training of Sri Lankan police and special units.
Scottish Police insist their international training improves global policing, but critics fear the force was naïve in working with the Colombo government as its tacit endorsement helps whitewash torture, kidnappings and the murder of Tamil ethnic minorities, according to the report.
“The long-standing police training program – which involved Sri Lankan officers, some of whom later linked to systemic torture, were trained at the Scottish Police Headquarters in Tulliallan and Scottish officers traveling to Colombo – is currently in limbo as it is reviewed by the Foreign Ministry. “
MSP Mercedes Villalba has now written to the British High Commission in Sri Lanka expressing concern that the training of the Sri Lankan police force by Police Scotland has given the Colombo regime “unwarranted legitimacy” and is “a screen of smoke for human rights violations ”.
“Yesterday Nowak, a prominent human rights lawyer and secretary general of the Global Campus of Human Rights, said it was alarming that the torture techniques he exposed at the UN in 2007 are still being used and he urged the Scottish police to open a criminal investigation. in the claims of refugees from Sri Lanka.
He told The Post: ‘The Scottish Parliament should investigate and Scottish police should investigate these allegations of torture and participate with police in Sri Lanka to prosecute the perpetrators.
“If Sri Lanka does not cooperate or seek to prosecute, then this case should go to international courts as cases have been in the past. “
“He said the testimonies of torture victims who fled to Scotland out of fear for their lives were surprisingly similar to the allegation he discovered in Sri Lanka 14 years ago:, was something I ‘ve encountered, just like the use of plastic bags with gasoline.
“If there is any evidence that these practices are being used by police in Sri Lanka, then Scottish police should move away from any future training program.”
MPs backed Nowak’s call for a parliamentary inquiry. Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton echoed his concerns and said: “Any continuation of the training deal the Scottish Police have with Sri Lanka brings us worryingly closer to an accomplice relationship. with people who we now know are committing torture and rape on an industrial scale. .
“I really want to hear from these torture victims and support the calls for an investigation by our justice committee and for a police investigation. “
: Labor shadow justice secretary Pauline McNeill said: “It is vitally important that victims of torture and human rights violations know that we are watching and listening.
“I think we will have strong all-party support for Scotland to take a stand against these human rights violations.
Nowak’s remarks were welcomed by human rights activists. Marion Pallister, from the peace movement Pax Christi Scotland, said: “We hope this will be the first step towards achieving justice for victims of torture in Sri Lanka.
Frances Harrison, of the International Truth and Justice Project, said: “If Scotland took these revolutionary steps, it would lead the way across the world in showing that perpetrators of torture cannot escape their crimes.
“A parliamentary inquiry would act as a beacon for the thousands of torture victims who live in silence and fear around the world, and send an important message to Sri Lanka that their actions will not be tolerated. “
In February, Amnesty International released a damning report detailing how Sri Lankan government officials repeatedly attacked and targeted human rights activists, lawyers representing the families of the missing and political opponents.
Naomi McAuliffe, Director of Amnesty International UK Scotland, said: ‘We have asked to see evidence that Police Scotland take human rights into consideration before entering into an overseas training agreement and have not received any assurances. .
“It is not only necessary to determine whether foreign forces have been involved in human rights violations, but also how the involvement of Police Scotland could help to help other forces cover up or downplay their human rights atrocities.