Sri Lanka’s war likened to wiping out British PM Cameron’s constituencyJanuary 6, 2013, 10:56 pm
By Shamindra Ferdinando
British Labour Party member, Siobhain McDonagh has compared the last phase of the Lankan military offensive (Jan-May 2009) against the LTTE to the massacre of an entire population of Witney, Carterton and Chipping Norton after being herded into an area smaller than Prime Minister, David Cameron’s constituency.
MP McDonagh has alleged that thousands of her constituents had been indirectly affected by the atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan military. She represents Mitcham and Morden. In a hard hitting letter to Prime Minister Cameron, MP McDonagh has said that his government cannot ignore the Tamil community in the UK numbered more than a quarter of a million persons.
MP McDonagh warned PM Cameron that UK participation at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 in Colombo would be nothing but endorsement of the massacre of civilians. MP McDonagh stated in a letter to PM Cameron: "If a nation has systematically killed every single person you knew in Witney, Carterton and Chipping Norton, raping and murdering in cold blood, I do not think that you would find it acceptable for that government to host an event as prestigious as a Commonwealth summit, or for our Government to attend."
Reiterating her call for an international war crimes inquiry into the conduct of the Sri Lankan military, MP McDonagh urged PM Cameron not to allow Sri Lanka to host CHOGM 2013 in November. MP McDonagh urged PM Cameron to explain to the Tamil community how he intended to prevent Sri Lanka hosting CHOGM 2013.
MP McDonagh inadvertently revealed why she was pushing for an inquiry by mentioning in her missive to PM Cameron of the growing Tamil population in the UK, the official said. Contrary to media reports, the UK politician was not pushing the Cameron government to boycott CHOGM 2013. Instead MP McDonagh wanted the UK to sabotage the Colombo summit.
MP McDonagh secured a one and half hour parliamentary debate tomorrow (Jan. 8) to discuss the failure on the part of the UN to prevent atrocities during the last phase.
On same day, Lord Naseby also secured one hour debate in the House of Lords. Sources said that the focus would be on the implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee (LLRC) recommendations.
During Lord Naseby last visit to Colombo, the British politician told The Island that some of his parliamentary colleagues had been forced to act on the behalf of LTTE rump as it controlled Tamil voters.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague has told MP McDonagh that Under Secretary of State, Alistair Burt would be visiting Colombo early this year to discuss human rights concerns. Hague was responding to MP McDonagh’s stinging letter addressed to PM Cameron.
Hague told McDonagh that both PM Cameron and he emphasized the responsibility on the part of Sri Lanka in implementing the UNHRC Resolution on the accountability issue when they had the opportunity to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa and External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, respectively in London last June.
Interestingly, Hague had asserted that the reconciliation process would have a greater chance of success if investigations were led by the GoSL rather than externally imposed.
The Global Tamil Forum yesterday said that ongoing action in the UK was necessary to compel the Sri Lankan government to address long standing accountability issues. GTF spokesman Surein Surendiran said: "President Rajapaksa and his regime are leading Sri Lanka to the brink of being a ‘failed state’. Introduction of the 18th amendment has removed even the limited parliamentary democracy features that existed and has made the executive presidency become almost dictatorial. The move to impeach the Chief Justice has now demonstrated to what extent the regime is prepared to go to even destroy the independence of the judiciary which is one of the very fabrics of democracy. If we, all people of the island who live in the island and outside let this regime continue without any serious impediment, not long before will we collectively regret like many other communities around the world have realized and suffered under such regimes"
Asked what the GTF expected achieve by raising the issue in UK parliament, Surendiran said that unfortunately, as historic opportunities were missed by the regime to resolve many of the grievances of the people due to lack of political will, absolute corruption at all levels, greed for power and nepotism, mismanagement of the economy, above all the prevailing abuse of human rights with impunity such as disappearances, lack of freedom of speech, inability to practice peaceful protest and demonstration and the existence of armed paramilitary activities - issues faced by our people have to be exposed externally. Unfortunately the weakness and disunity that exists within the opposition has disabled any kind of effective action against this scandalous regime and it has fallen on the Tamil Diaspora to bear this responsibility as well.
"The significance of having such debates in Parliaments around the world and at international forums has become the only way to share with the rest of the world of the grievances faced not just by the Tamil people, but collectively by all people in the country."
"This is one of the ways to expose the regime’s breaches of international laws and conventions in the past and even at present."
Responding to query whether attacking Sri Lanka in UK parliament would help their cause, Surendiran said: "Of course it will as if not already, it won’t be long before even the majority community will realize the impact of this regime’s actions in their day to day lives and on their future generations. Suppression and oppression cannot anymore be owned only by Tamils and the Muslims of Sri Lanka. The same has been practiced at different levels against the Sinhala community as well and spreading. This will only result in wider conflict and internal instability rather than reconciliation."
"By exposing the current ground reality internationally through which bringing external pressure to bear on the regime has the slim chance of making them change course."
"As far as the past breaches of international laws and alleged commitment of war crimes and crimes against humanity, unless these are resolved and justice is served to people who have lost their loved ones and suffered during the war, it will be almost impossible to ask them to move on. Therefore unless this serving of justice is done via an independent international investigation of the alleged atrocities by both sides during the end of the war, it will be impossible for the parties in conflict to reconcile and move on."
"Finally only by addressing the Tamil National question will you achieve peaceful and prosperous communities in Sri Lanka."
What’s Sri Lanka’s best overseas Test win?
Last Updated Jun 18 2013 | 05:58 pm
Await Breaking News...