British MPs urge BBC to reconsider decision to re-locate Sinhala radio service citing HR concerns

A motion has been tabled in the UK Parliament urging to reconsider the decision to relocate BBC Sinhala radio service to India, citing inability to report impartially on human rights related matters in Sri Lanka in the event the news service was relocated.

The motion titled ‘Human Rights in Sri Lanka and the Relocation of the BBC Sinhala Service’ was signed by three MPs and had been tabled on November 30.

In the motion, the MPs said that the human rights environment in Sri Lanka worsened, with the continuation of surveillance and intimidation of activists and human rights defenders, the detention without charge of a high profile human rights lawyer, and a presidential pardon of the only member of the armed forces convicted of a wartime atrocity.

They said the House of Commons further noted Sri Lankan Government’s withdrawal support for UNHRC resolutions on post-conflict transitional justice, accountability and reconciliation, coupled with the Sri Lankan military forming task forces operating beyond parliamentary scrutiny and being given oversight of civilian functions, as a result of the delays to parliamentary elections without the reconvening of the Sri Lankan Parliament.

“The House believes now is not the time to be re-locating the BBC Sinhala service to India with the consequent loss of jobs in the UK as well as the experience, continuity and ability to report impartially on events and to hold the government and military of Sri Lanka to account for their actions; and therefore urges the BBC to reconsider its decision,” the motion said.