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FeaturesNewsIndependent international investigations against SriLanka : British parliamentary group

Independent international investigations against SriLanka : British parliamentary group

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) in collaboration with the British Tamils Forum (BTF) held an exhibition on 31st January 2012, at the UK Parliament building. The exhibition highlighted the current situation of the Tamils in Sri Lanka; and why, the Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report recently published by the Sri Lankan Government will not deliver justice to the Tamil civilians for the crimes committed by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces during the final stages of the war in 2009.

The event in portcullis house was well attended by MPs from all the major parties, Members of European parliament, Peers from the House of Lords and diplomats from various foreign missions in London and journalists.

Photos, books, publications, documentaries and videos were on display. There were also key eyewitnesses to the bloody war in Sri Lanka present at the event. Over one hundred invited honourable guests attended the event and were given information pack containing reports, documents and photographs. A printed version of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) response to the LLRC was also given to the visitors.

This BTF coordinated effort was used as a launching pad for the March 2012 UN Human Rights Council session to push for political will in the UK and also coincides with the so-called Independence Day remembrance of Sri Lanka.

The exhibition is part of the project ENLIGHTEN, which was started in Nov 2007 and continues to publish informative materials.

British Tamils Forum (BTF), Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), Holland Tamil Forum (HTF), UK Tamils Youth Organisation (TYO UK) and Tamil Information Centre (TIC) helped in research and fact compilation for this exhibition.

Documentaries named “My neighbour a Sri Lanka Tamil” by 3rd eye productions and “Mullaitheevu Saga” by S. Someetharan was screened in the exhibition room.

UN Experts Panel Report on Accountability in Sri Lanka had presented that substantial evidence exists for war crimes and crimes against humanity charges against the Sri Lankan Army during the war in 2009. Panel recommended further investigation into these allegations. The Sri Lankan Government refused to conduct any such investigation and on the contrary, continues to silence those who clamour for independent investigation into this matter, through murder, intimidation and enforced disappearances.

Recently released Sri Lankan government’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report failed to investigate any of the war crime charges yet, cleared the Sri Lankan military and its command structure from any accountability for these charges. In June 2011,

Speaking after the transmission of Channel 4’s documentary ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’, Foreign Office Minister for South Asia Alistair Burt said: “I was shocked by the horrific scenes I saw in the documentary that was broadcast on 14 June.

The recent UN Panel of Experts’ report, this documentary and previously authenticated Channel 4 footage, constitute convincing evidence of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The whole of the international community will expect the Sri Lankans to give a serious and full response to this evidence.

UK has called for an independent, thorough and credible investigation of the allegations that war crimes were committed during the hostilities and the UK Government expects to see progress by the end of the year. If the Sri Lankan government does not respond we will support the international community in revisiting all options available to press the Sri Lankan Government to fulfil its obligations.’’

The above deadline given by the minister to Sri Lanka had passed and the participants requested that the UK government consider all the available ‘’options’’ now. The Sri Lankan government seems determined to disregard all international human rights conventions and embolden by the international inaction, has resorted to abductions, threats and unlawful executions while continuing its programme of structural genocide on the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. It has also resorted to unlawful and undemocratic means to silence the call for justice by those few amongst the Sinhalese community as well. If the international community fails to act now, the Tamil population and their identity would be completely wiped out from Sri Lanka within a short period, completing the structural genocide.

Most of the MP’s present from all the major political parties in the British parliament called on the international community to come together and take immediate measures to establish an international independent investigation through the multilateral agencies like UNHRC and ICC, British Tamil Forum reports.

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