Police Scotland’s training of Sri Lanka’s abusive police force is currently paused. Now we have an opportunity to cancel the training altogether.
Our friends at Freedom from Torture are running a campaign asking Scottish supporters to write to their representative in the Scottish Parliament to express concerns about the training and to ask them to join the campaign to end the training programme.
-If you live in Scotland, you can use Freedom from Torture’s handy template to write to your MSP.
-If you don’t live in Scotland, share the campaign with friends in Scotland or help to spread the message by sharing it on social media.
With your support we can show the Scottish Government that there is serious opposition to Police Scotland’s continued training of Sri Lanka’s abusive police force and make sure that further training is cancelled until there is a genuine commitment to human rights from the Sri Lankan government and police.
Since 2006, Police Scotland have made 90 different deployments to Sri Lanka, training and supporting the Sri Lankan police force, and members of Sri Lankan police forces have visited the Police Scotland College for training. The training is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office.
Police Scotland says the training programmes are designed to improve respect for human rights. Recently, this training has been focused on improving police responses to gender based violence. In the past it has also involved support for the development of “community policing” including training to the notorious Special Task Force “to manage public gatherings and protests”. Yet despite over a decade of training, there is credible evidence that Sri Lankan police continue to be responsible for torture and extrajudicial killings.
You can read more about the training in this article from January 2021.
We have teamed up with Freedom from Torture, Human Rights Watch and Pax Christi Scotland to campaign against this training and we have written to the minister responsible for policing in Scotland to ask him to cancel the training.
We have been told that the training is currently paused but we believe that Police Scotland and the Scottish Government should go further by cancelling the training altogether until the Sri Lankan government and police demonstrate a genuine commitment to human rights and willingness to reform.
Recently, Police Scotland’s training of Sri Lankan police was raised by MSP Mercedes Villalba in the Scottish Parliament during a debate about Scotland’s place in the world.
We need your help to get more parliamentarians to speak up and support the campaign. If you live in Scotland, please write to your MSP to express your concerns today. Don’t forget to share the campaign if you can!