The British Government continues to monitor the situation in the north and east of the country and we consistently raise the need for progress on scaling back of high security zones, the British  Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs said in a parliment talk.  Mark Durkan:To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the effects of high security zones in Sri Lanka on residents and displaced civilians in that country. [139850] Alistair Burt: The British Government continues to monitor the situation in the north and east of the country and we consistently raise the need for progress on scaling back of high security zones. We are pleased that the Government of Sri Lanka has, in the last two months, opened some high security zones for resettlement in the north of the country. This will allow numerous families to return home to their villages and subsequently allow welfare camps to be able to be closed down. The British Government, together with international partners, will work to support the Sri Lankan people in their pursuit of enduring peace and reconciliation. We will continue to use all opportunities to discuss human rights concerns with the Sri Lankan Government. Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of (a) the size of the Sri Lankan army’s presence in Tamil-dominated areas and (b) the relationship between the civilian population and the security forces in the north of Sri Lanka. [139904] Alistair Burt: The military presence in many areas is less invasive than at the end of the conflict, but armed forces continue to occupy large areas of civilian land, now classified as high security zones or military cantonments. Military involvement in civil and commercial activities has reduced in some areas but remains widespread and a source of tension. We regularly encourage the Government to implement the Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, including scaling back the role of the military in civilian affairs and reducing its presence as far as is possible consistent with legitimate security needs.]]>

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