Sri Lanka is on the UK’s Country of Concern list

admin | April 11th, 2014 | No Comments »

Foreign and commonwealth office has raised concern over Sri Lanka on their recent human rights report published on 10th of April 2014. There are 27 other Countries of Concern also listed in their latest annual Human Rights Report. Full report can be accessed on the following link.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sri-lanka-country-of-concern

All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils responds to Sri Lanka’s move to proscribe diaspora organisations

admin | April 2nd, 2014 | 70 Comments »

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils has released the following statement today in response to the Sri Lankan government’s decision to proscribe a number of diaspora organisations, including British Tamils Forum.

Click here to download this statement (pdf).

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APPG for Tamils Statement on UNHRC resolution establishing an independent international inquiry on Sri Lanka

admin | March 31st, 2014 | 21 Comments »

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG for Tamils), welcomes the decision by the United Nations Human Rights Council to adopt the resolution on 27th March 2014, which establishes an independent international inquiry into abuses that have taken place in Sri Lanka. The adoption of this resolution is the culmination of five years of hard work by many people around the world; the APPG for Tamils would like to express its sincere gratitude for their dedication and unwavering commitment to seek justice for the victims and survivors of this conflict.

Now the inquiry has been announced, the APPG for Tamils would like to seek clarification on how it is to be implemented. In particular, the APPG for Tamils asks the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) to explain how it plans to conduct the inquiry if Sri Lanka does not cooperate.

The APPG for Tamils also encourages the UK Government to consider how it can encourage the Sri Lankan state and officials, particularly those implicated in the crimes being investigated, to cooperate with the inquiry. The UK Government should use the full range of tools at its disposal to persuade Sri Lanka to comply.

Finally, the APPG for Tamils reminds both the UNHRC and the UK government that the abuses did not end in 2009 – disappearances, arbitrary detention, rape, land grabs and militarisation continue to this day. Therefore, it is crucial that the international community takes immediate action to stop these ongoing crimes, even as the inquiry into past crimes gets underway.

Click here to download this statement (pdf).

Joint Statement on UNHRC Resolution 25/1 on Sri Lanka

admin | March 30th, 2014 | Comments Off

Tamils Worldwide Welcome the Establishment of an International Investigation; Urge UN to Support Political Space for Tamil Aspirations

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay addresses the 25th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

We welcome the establishment of an international investigative mechanism to establish the facts and circumstances pertaining to “serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes” committed in the island of Sri Lanka. The UN Human Rights Council adopted Resolution A/HRC/25/L.1/Rev.1 on March 27, 2014, which paves the way for a comprehensive international investigation. We urge that the investigation should cover the period prior to, during and after the end of the armed conflict in 2009.

However, we would have liked to see the resolution better reflect the survivors’ and victims’ narratives seeking justice, reparations and closure for the killing of over 70,000 Tamils in just a few months in 2009 and determining the fate of 146,679 Tamils who remain unaccounted. While Tamils the world over appreciate the well-intended efforts of the 23 nations that voted to adopt this resolution, we regret India’s opposition to the establishment of an international investigation. India’s history of moral leadership and courage, coupled with its unique cultural and intellectual affinity with Eelam Tamils, makes its abstention and vote against the operative paragraph establishing an investigation deeply disappointing.

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UNHRC adopts resolution for international inquiry on Sri Lanka

admin | March 27th, 2014 | 2 Comments »

The United Nations Human Rights Council has voted to adopt a resolution to establish an international inquiry into abuses that have been committed in Sri Lanka.

British Tamils Forum and many other organisations have expressed concern regarding the ability of an OHCHR-led inquiry to deliver justice to the victims and survivors; we also regret the unduly narrow scope of the inquiry and the resolution’s failure to note the ethnocratic dimension to the conflict.

Nevertheless, we believe this resolution represents a step forward in the Tamil people’s quest for justice, rights and freedom. British Tamils must work with our allies around the world to strengthen this inquiry, deliver witnesses and evidence, and pursue our campaign for justice until Sri Lanka’s genocide of the Tamil people is halted.

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BTF welcomes explicit call for investigation but proposed resolution still has far to go

admin | March 18th, 2014 | Comments Off

British Tamils Forum calls on the Member States of the United Nations Human Rights Councils to support an international commission of inquiry (COI) into all crimes committed in the island of Sri Lanka prior to, during and after the war ended in 2009. This call must be made in the resolution on Sri Lanka that is being discussed at the 25th session.

As far as Tamils are concerned, the resolution in its current form has a number of serious defects. It fails to recognise the ethnocratic dimension of the conflict in the island of Sri Lanka. The escalating land grabs crisis, which has been widely documented and follows a clear pattern consistent with a programme of structural genocide, is referred to misleadingly as “land disputes”.

In terms of a political solution, the Council should facilitate a free democratic space for the Tamil people to express their political will, instead of prescribing solutions based on the existing Sri Lankan constitution, which has been consistently rejected by the Tamil people and which is at the very root of this 66-year-old conflict.

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British Tamils pay their respects to Tony Benn

admin | March 16th, 2014 | Comments Off

British Tamils Forum is profoundly saddened to hear that Tony Benn, a true friend of the Tamils and other oppressed people across the globe, has passed away. During the genocidal war waged by the Sri Lankan regime in 2009, Tony joined thousands of British Tamils who were protesting in front of the British Parliament, seeking the intervention of the British government to stop the massacre in Mullivaikkal.

A popular politician, who was much loved by the British public, Tony steadfastly condemned the banning of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the United Kingdom. In order to fight for the rights of Tamils to protest with their Tamil national flag, he argued with the Metropolitan Police and waved the Tamil national flag in front of the Houses of Parliament.

On behalf of the British Tamil community, British Tamils Forum pays its respects to Tony Benn and sends its condolences to his family and friends. He will be remembered as a true friend of Tamils, who stood with them in their hour of need.

Arrest of anti-disappearances campaigners underscores need for a strong resolution at the UNHRC

admin | March 15th, 2014 | Comments Off

Recent arrests highlight the need for a strong resolution at the UN Human Rights Council and David Cameron’s duty to ensure the safety of human rights defenders who approached him during his visit.

When the UK Prime Minister David Cameron visited Sri Lanka in November 2013 against the will of much of the British Tamil community, he reasoned that he would use the opportunity to go to the North of the island and see the situation with his own eyes. During his visit to Jaffna, his convoy and accompanying journalists were swarmed by desperate Tamils seeking information on their missing loved ones. On Thursday, two of these Tamils – the mother of a missing boy and her 13-year-old daughter – were arrested by hundreds of heavily armed army and police personnel. British Tamils Forum reminds David Cameron that he has a duty to ensure the safety of these and all other human rights defenders who came to see him.

The actions of the Sri Lankan state are all the more brazen given their timing. Sri Lanka is currently coming under intense scrutiny at the 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, and yet these arrests show it no longer has any concern over its international image and, more worryingly, indicate that Sri Lanka does not expect the international community to take any concrete action to arrest its ongoing persecution of Tamils.
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BTF’s new research paper reasons the urgent need for COI

admin | March 14th, 2014 | Comments Off

British Tamils Forum has published a new research paper analysing key five areas ahead of the United Nations Human Rights council’s vote on the proposed US resolution on Sri Lanka. The report further calls for the resolution to be strengthened to initiate a full commission of Inquiry (CoI)

The Executive Summary of the report can be found below and the full report can be downloaded from this link:

The need for an International Independent Investigation in Sri Lanka.

Two resolutions on Sri Lanka, sponsored by the United States of America (USA), were passed and adopted at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March 2012 and March 2013 respectively. The USA is currently in the process of sponsoring a third resolution at the UNHRC session in March 2014. Both adopted resolutions had called on the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to implement the ‘constructive recommendations’ of the Sri Lanka’s own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

However, Sri Lanka has to date failed to take any meaningful steps to implement these LLRC recommendations.

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All Party Parliamentary Group Departs for Geneva to Call for International Independent Investigation

admin | March 6th, 2014 | 1 Comment »

Several UK Parliamentarians and members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) are due to to travel to Geneva this month to lend their voices to the growing clamour for an International Independent Investigation in Sri Lanka.

Rt Hon Lee Scott MP, chair of the APPGT, released the following statement earlier today:

STATEMENT FROM LEE SCOTT MP, CHAIR ALL PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP FOR TAMILS

Lee Scott MP, Chair, ALL PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP FOR TAMILS (APPGT) prior to his leaving for the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council said :-

“I am going to Geneva to attend the current session of UNHRC where I have several meetings. I will continue, on behalf of the APPGt and the Tamil Community, to call for an International Independent Investigation. This will be supported by fellow APPGT members when they come to the UNHRC during this session.”