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Scotland stops training SL cops over human rights?

a year ago

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  • Scottish media quote Police Scotland Chief on ending SL contract
  • SL Police deny such reports
  BY Buddhika Samaraweera Despite the Chief Constable of Police Scotland being quoted in Scottish media stating that Police Scotland has stopped training officers of Sri Lanka Police over human rights-related concerns, the Sri Lanka Police has denied this, stating that bilateral discussions are ongoing to resume training which had been temporarily halted due to the prevalent Covid-19 pandemic situation. According to The Sunday Post, the demand for a parliamentary inquiry into the services and international clients of Police Scotland came after Chief Constable of Police Scotland Iain Livingstone confirmed that a controversial Sri Lankan training contract would end. The announcement has come after concerns of a leading human rights lawyer and United Nations (UN) Rapporteur and the testimony of torture victims who had allegedly been raped, beaten, and asphyxiated by the Sri Lankan Police and security forces. They accused Police Scotland of being naive in continuing to train Sri Lankan officers despite damning UN reports into human rights abuses in the country. Campaigners claimed that the national force was giving credibility to an administration linked to violence, torture, and disappearances. However, when contacted by The Morning, Police Media Spokesman Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Nihal Thalduwa claimed that the reports that the training given by the Scottish Police to the Sri Lankan police officers has been stopped are untrue. “Certain reports that the Scottish Police has halted training programmes to Sri Lanka Police Department officers are erroneous. We have not been notified of such by the Scottish authorities,” he added. SSP Thalduwa said that even though such a halt has not taken place due to concerns over the human rights record, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a halt of not only the Scottish training, but many other training programmes. He added that due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation, Sri Lankan police officers have not left for Scotland since 2020. He further said that discussions between the Scottish and Sri Lankan authorities are presently underway to resume the Scottish training, which had been suspended due to the pandemic. “The training could not be continued in 2020 due to the prevailing pandemic situation, but there was a discussion on 17 November 2021 with our Police and British High Commission (HC) officials about resuming training from 2022,” he explained. Attempts to contact Public Security Ministry Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Jagath Alwis to inquire about the matter proved futile. 

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