Tamil People Bitterly Disappointed and Betrayed by Deferral of Key UNHRC Report on Sri Lanka Conflict

admin | February 17th, 2015 | No Comments »

British Tamils Forum shares the deep disappointment and anguish felt by Tamil people across the world on learning that the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) report, scheduled to be released in March 2015, will be deferred by another six months.

Tamil Diaspora organisations and Tamil parties in the island of Sri Lanka and India, together representing Tamil people across the world, have repeatedly requested that this long awaited report be released in March 2015 as mandated. The victims and the witnesses of this genocide have already waited far too long.

In his explanation for this unprecedented move, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, states that there are “strong arguments for deferring the report’s consideration a bit longer, given the changing context in Sri Lanka, and the possibility that important new information may emerge which will strengthen the report.” However, legal sources familiar with the evidence already collected have indicated that there is enough hard evidence to prosecute the perpetrators. The High Commissioner further states, “I have received clear commitments from the new Government of Sri Lanka indicating it is prepared to cooperate with my Office on a whole range of important human rights issues – which the previous Government had absolutely refused to do – and I need to engage with them to ensure those commitments translate into reality.” We, as victims, too have a right to know what these commitments are and how these will facilitate the emergence of new information. Read More

Tamil Diaspora Organisations urge the High Commissioner for UN Human Rights Council to release the report on OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka

admin | February 15th, 2015 | No Comments »

February 14, 2015

The Honorable Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Palais Wilson, 52 rue des Pâquis

CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland

Dear High Commissioner Zeid:

On behalf of a network of Tamil organizations around the world, we write to you in regards to the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL). We are grateful to you for your strong leadership pursuing accountability for past atrocities in Sri Lanka and ending ongoing human rights abuses against the Tamil community. We respectfully urge you to continue this principled and strong leadership.

The Human Rights Council’s (HRC) dedication to the universality of human rights was very clear when it established the OHCHR investigation. The work of the OISL is tremendously important in bringing accountability for past atrocities, setting a benchmark for the issues that need to be addressed, and giving hope to the victims who have waited years for the truth to be validated.

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BTF Welcomes Historic Northern Provincial Council Resolution on Sri Lanka’s Genocide Against Tamils

admin | February 10th, 2015 | No Comments »

Today, the Northern Provincial Council in Jaffna passed a historic resolution, setting out evidence demonstrating that successive Sri Lankan governments have perpetrated genocide against Tamils and calling for the ongoing United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) to investigate the claim of genocide and recommend appropriate investigations and prosecutions by the International Criminal Court. This significant development has come about in the wake of an attempt by the current Sri Lankan government to delay and derail the submission of the UN investigation report at the UNHRC meeting in Geneva in March.
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67th Sri Lankan Independence day and the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka

admin | February 6th, 2015 | No Comments »

Today Sri Lankan state celebrates its 67th year of Independence from the British colonial rule, but it is not a day celebrated by Tamils in the island.  Post-independent Sri Lanka has been constructed based on a clear genocidal agenda by the state.  Right throughout the post independent history the State has been instigating attacks on the Tamil people in which they were massacred on the streets and in their own homes.  The state has been plundering land belonging to the Tamil people and settling Sinhala people in them.  It instigated burning down of the Jaffna library which also was the repository of manuscripts of Tamil history and literature.  This was part of its scheme to destroy the identity of the Tamil people. Read More

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Sends Message of Support to Tamil Community

admin | February 4th, 2015 | No Comments »

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers MP, has released a message of support for the Tamil Community following her attendance of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils Annual Dinner on 29 January 2015.
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The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils and the British Tamils Forum Host Annual Dinner 2015 in London

admin | January 30th, 2015 | No Comments »

Activists, journalists, religious leaders, politicians of all parties and prominent members of the British Tamil community arrived at the Royal Horseguards Hotel in London on the 29th of January 2015 for the annual dinner of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT).

The event began with a minute silent to remember those killed in the conflict in Sri Lanka and a traditional Bharatanatyam dance performance and welcome speeches by Mr V Ravi Kumar, General Secretary of BTF, and Lee Scott MP for Ilford North and the chair of the APPGT who apologised to the Tamil Community for not heeding their cries in 2009 and failing to prevent the genocide.

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UK Parliamentarians Discuss Sri Lanka Following Presidential Election

admin | January 29th, 2015 | No Comments »

Lee Scott, chairperson of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils opened the meeting, stating that the present government headed by the new President Sirisena is not a new government but the old government with new faces.

Several MPs present raised the point that the many of the ministers in the new government were from the old government including the President. Lee Scott raised his concern regarding the inclusion of General Sarath Fonseka in the new government, who is an alleged war criminal named by a UN report. One of the MPs present inquired whether the minister in charge of Sri lankan affairs, Hugo Swire, who is currently visiting Sri Lanka would raise these concerns with the new government and persuade it to accede to the Rome Statute, the UN convention on International Criminal Court.
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BTF and All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils Host Annual Dinner on 29 January 2015

admin | January 19th, 2015 | No Comments »

British Tamil forum (BTF) in collaboration with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG for Tamils) is to organise an annual dinner at the Royal Horseguards Hotel on 29 January 2015, inviting all UK MPs, business, religious and community leaders, international NGOs and international media personnel.

BTF hopes to highlight the following issues to the participants at this event:

1. Justice for the victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity. To consider all options available to press the Sri Lankan Government to corporate with the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka and through a UN supported resolution to set up an international tribunal to investigate war crimes, crimes against humanity and the intent of genocide during the conflict, like those established for Rwanda and Yugoslavia.

2. A political solution to address the root cause of the conflict. To conduct an internationally monitored referendum amongst the Tamil people living in the island and the Tamil Diaspora, consisting of those displaced due to the war, to establish their democratic wish to exercise their Right to Self Determination.

3. To call on the UK government to take the lead in exerting pressure on the Sri Lankan regime y enforcing targeted sanctions such as travel bans and asset freezes on Sri Lankan military personnel and politicians accused of complicity in the perpetration of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Regardless of any change in the political leadership or regime in Sri Lanka, the accountability process should continue until justice is delivered to the victims of the crimes committed against Tamils.

British Tamils Forum delegation meets key BJP members in India

admin | January 11th, 2015 | No Comments »

Mr Vijay Jolly (All India Convenor of BJP’s Foreign Cell and Member of the National Executive Committee of the BJP) welcomed the recent BTF delegation to India, and said the following: “We are of the firm view that the attack on Tamils should immediately stop in Sri Lanka, and I, along with our party general secretary Mr Muralider Rao, raised our concerns with President Rajapakse on his last visit to India. We do not want to interfere with the internal affairs of another country but our sentiments are there with every positive endeavour of the BTF and its activities worldwide. We wish you all the best and we do hope that better senses will prevail for protection of human rights of Hindu Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Western nations will take adequate note of the valid concerns of the British Tamils Forum on this subject. Jai Hind.”
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British Tamil Forum response to the election results and the new government in Sri Lanka

admin | January 9th, 2015 | No Comments »

The presidential election in Sri Lanka has just concluded and the present government has lost the elections, but this will not still resolve the immediate issues faced by the Tamil people nor address the fundamental issue that has affected the Tamils in Sri Lanka for a very long time.

As stated by the newly sworn in president in his election manifesto, the policy towards giving autonomy to the Tamil people, de-militarisation of the Tamil areas and cooperation with the UNHRC’s international inquiry will remain the same. The fundamental issue that has fuelled this conflict for well over 60 years since the independence of Sri Lanka or Ceylon is the nature of the state, which needs to be structurally reformed. Read More