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Police Scotland decision not to renew its training contract with Sri Lanka’s police welcomed by campaigners

CAMPAIGNERS have welcomed a decision by Police Scotland to not renew its training contract with Sri Lanka’s police following allegations of human rights abuses.

The contract, which is due to expire next March, will not be extended, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said today.

The training was suspended in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Livingstone said, and had not resumed because officers required “a review to accurately reflect the current security and human rights issues in the region.”

Earlier this month, MPs and MSPs sent a joint letter to the British high commission in Sri Lanka and Police Scotland urging them to terminate the programme and listen to victims of police brutality.

One of those signatories, Mercedes Villalba of Scottish Labour, welcomed today’s announcement as a victory for campaigners who had alleged that the training was providing political cover and legitimacy to human rights violations.

She said: “I have been pleased to support the campaigners and thank them for their tireless efforts in securing today’s commitment from the chief constable. 

“I also want to thank Police Scotland for being responsive to the real concerns which were expressed about Sri Lanka’s record of human rights violations.”

The International Truth and Justice Project described the move as a constructive step and called on other countries to follow suit. 

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said that officers had been advised that there would be no requests for support in Sri Lanka during the remaining five months of the current contract, so all the force’s work there would end.

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