British Tigers call for sanctions against SL

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The US is seeking a broad consensus on its proposed resolution against Sri Lanka at the forthcoming UNHRC session in Geneva, while an influential section of overseas Tigers strongly pushed for unprecedented inclusion of a special clause to pave the way for UN sanctions in case President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government ignored the latest resolution.

The US led two successful resolutions in 2012 and 2013.

Sources told The Island that the UK-based Tamil grouping was pushing the UK and US for toughest possible resolution seeking UN sanctions. The position adopted by an influential section of the Diaspora was very much contrary to the US effort meant to produce a resolution which wouldn’t be too offensive to the majority of UNHRC members, sources said.

Having met Labour Party Leader, Ed Miliband on January 29, at his office in parliament, Tamils for Labour chief, Sen Kandiah called for the inclusion of a clause to ensure that non-compliance would result in sanctions. The meeting was attended by senior representatives of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) and the British Tamil Forum (BTF), now at loggerheads with each other over the post-war strategy vis-a-vis Sri Lanka. Sources said that all major Tiger Diaspora groups, including National Council of Canadian Tamils and Norwegian Council of Eelam Tamils as well as the recently created umbrella organization, International Council of Eelam Tamils would back the call for UN sanctions.

Members of the UNHRC are Algeria, China, Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, Gabon, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kuwait, Macedonia, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Venezuela, Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Namibia, Peru, South Korea, Romania, Sierra Leone, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America.

US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal will be in London on Monday (Feb 3) to discuss ways and means of taking forward the initiative. The Island in its yesterday front-page story headlined ‘Third consecutive US resolution targeting SL: Consultations in London after US official’s Jaffna visit’ inadvertently said that Ms Biswal would be in London on Saturday (Feb 1). The error is regretted.

Sources said that the US, UK as well as Diaspora groups were urging as many as 40 countries to co-sponsor the resolution. But Diaspora efforts to include special clause to pave the way for UN sanctions could undermine US efforts, sources said. Asked whether major British political parties were agreeable to nudge the US for a tougher resolution, sources said that Labour Party Leader Miliband during his meeting with Diaspora representatives reiterated his commitment to push British Premier David Cameron to use UK’s current position as a member of the UNHRC to demand an internationally acceptable credible accountability mechanism.

During the meeting, Diaspora representatives raised the issue of continuing heavy military presence in the Northern Province and Sinhala colonisation.  

Tamils for Labour quoted Miliband as having said: "Prime Minister Cameron had to be held to the promises he made at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2013, when he first acknowledged the need for an international inquiry.  Labour will continue to press the UK Government to do all they can to support accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka and Labour will demand action from the Government of Sri Lanka as well."

animated gif
Processing Request
Please Wait...