Joint New Year Message from World-wide Tamil Organizations and Entities: A Solemn Pledge to Work for Justice, Protection, and Freedom of the Tamil People

admin | January 3rd, 2015 | No Comments »

On this New Year’s Day, January 1, 2015, Tamil organizations and entities around the world pledge our renewed commitment to bring dignity, freedom, justice, and peace to our Tamil brethren living in the occupied NorthEast region constituting the Tamil Nation in the island of Sri Lanka. We are united in our quest for freedom for our people who have been oppressed by successive Sri Lankan regimes.

We thank the International Community for leading and supporting the Resolution at the March 2014 Session of the UNHRC, which initiated the investigation by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for violations of human rights and related crimes against the Tamil people. We are hopeful that the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) will lead to accountability and remedial justice for genocide, war-crimes, and crimes against humanity committed against the Tamil people.

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British Tamils’ heartfelt condolence to the families of victims of landslide in Sri Lanka.

admin | November 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »

BTF shares the grief of the Tamil people  of Meeriyabedha in Badulla district. 66 apartments in 6 lines of houses have been completely submerged in the landslide that took place between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m. on 29th of October 2014. In one of the biggest landslides in Sri Lanka, members of more than 66 Tamil families are feared dead in the disaster that struck on Wednesday in Meeriyabedda in Badulla District in the Up Country. Tamil relief workers in the Up Country said more than 300 people are feared missing and there is no hope for survivors. Several school children survived the catastrophe as they had gone to schools, the reports further said. Many children have become orphaned. 95% of the affected people are Tamil people employed in the tea plantations.

BTF calls upon the fellow diaspora Tamils to provide all possible assistance to the affected Tamils through the NGO’s and calls upon the UK government and the UN to provide immediate disaster relief to the affected families and children.

Complete ratification of Article 1 of the ICCPR is a necessity to adequately address systemic and structural violation of Tamils’ collective and individual rights

admin | October 8th, 2014 | Comments Off

The Sri Lankan State is currently being reviewed by the Human Rights Committee at the 112th session for its compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), 7-8 October 2014. The Human Rights Team of the British Tamils Forum is closely following the important UN Human Rights mechanism and submitted a NGO reply for consideration to the Human Rights Committee. The Human Rights Team of BTF welcomes that the Committee included and were interested in information which were provided in our report.

Having attended the 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council in September, members of the Human Rights Team of BTF are currently present in Geneva attending the review of Sri Lanka by the UN Human Rights Committee.
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BTF statement on the High Commissioner’s Oral Update on Sri Lanka at the 27th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

admin | September 25th, 2014 | No Comments »

British Tamils Forum commends the OHCHR for expressing concern at the hostility and obstructiveness of the Sri Lankan state and civil society – including the government, parliament and media – towards the investigation, which is mandated to investigate “alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka”.

In the oral update, the OHCHR notes that the Sri Lankan government has gone so far as to threaten those who might testify before the inquiry with legal action. Furthermore, the OHCHR has expressed concern that the Sri Lankan government has proscribed a number of organisations, including BTF, that have been actively engaged with the Human Rights Council since the OHCHR inquiry was mandated by resolution 25/1 in March 2014. The proscriptions add to the risks faced by individuals and organisations on the island who work with these organisations to bring Sri Lanka’s abuses under international scrutiny. Read More

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett supports international inquiry into war crimes and believes genocide has occurred in Sri Lanka

admin | September 14th, 2014 | No Comments »

British Tamils Forum members and a constituent met former UK Home Secretary David Blunkett MP last Saturday to garner support for UK Tamil organisations and individuals that have been targeted by Sri Lanka’s efforts to silence dissent through the use of UN Security Council Resolution 1373.

During the meeting, Mr Blunkett told the delegation that he believed genocide had taken place on the island of Sri Lanka and that evidence that human rights violations had occurred during the armed conflict in 2009 must be properly investigated.

Mr Blunkett expressed disappointment at Sri Lanka’s obstruction of the currently ongoing UN Human Rights Council mandated investigation into human rights abuses in Sri Lanka and lent his support to the need for an independent international investigation on abuses that have happened in Sri Lanka.

APPG for Tamils Demands Sri Lanka Government Adhere to UNHRC Resolution and cooperate with OISL

admin | September 12th, 2014 | No Comments »

On behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG for Tamils), the Chair, Lee Scott MP and Vice Chair, Siobhain McDonagh MP have jointly asked the UK government to strongly condemn the Sri Lankan authorities for rejecting the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution (A/HRC/25/L.1/Rev.1) and refusing to cooperate with the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL). We request the UK government to consider all actions including sanctions until the Government of Sri Lanka agrees to cooperate with OISL.

Lee Scott MP and Siobhain McDonagh MP said “it is completely unacceptable that after the resolution was passed in March of this year, the Sri Lankan government is still unwilling to participate in this investigation; and is finding ways to regularly prolong and avoid this.

The APPG for Tamils welcomes the speech by ZeidRa’ad Al Hussein, the new High Commissioner for Human Rights Council pledging his commitment to the investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL); who stated “I encourage the Sri Lankan authorities to cooperate with this process in the interests of justice and reconciliation. I am alarmed at threats currently being levelled against the human rights community in Sri Lanka, as well as prospective victims and witnesses.”

As the investigation is being conducted from outside of Sri Lanka by the Office of High Commissioner for Human Right (OHCHR) – we call for an urgent moratorium on deportation of Tamil asylum seekers and potential witnesses to the OISL.  The APPG for Tamils calls on the UK government to ensure the safety of very vulnerable war crime witnesses and rape victims, who are already in the UK and under threat of deportation.

We also request the UK Government to take up the matter of Sri Lanka proscribing organisations and individuals abusing UN Security Council Resolution 1373 and to work with others in the international community to ensure the proscription is rescinded.

We call upon the British government to continue to give the Government of Sri Lanka a clear message denouncing their defiance against an inquiry for accountability and justice.

APPG for Tamil press statement

Response to Times of India article: “Tamil body wants India help to find Lanka solution”

admin | August 26th, 2014 | No Comments »

BTF would like to state publicly that it has been misquoted by a Times of India correspondent in that newspaper’s recent article “Tamil body wants India help to find Lanka solution”, which appeared on its online edition dated Aug 26, 2014.

The article implies that Mr Nirmalan, representing BTF, said that “the diaspora can’t be an advocate for Eelam”; however, Mr Nirmalan refutes this allegation, which is in contradiction with BTF’s well-known and longstanding position in support of Tamil Eelam. Mr Nirmalan during his interview specifically mentioned that every Tamil’s dream is an independent Tamil Eelam, as was extensively reported by other media. All the democratic referendums conducted in the diaspora have overwhelmingly given support to an independent Tamil Eelam, and any diaspora organisation representing the wishes of the people cannot go against such a popular mandate of the Tamil people. Furthermore, BTF has stated on many occasions that the Tamils living on the island of Sri Lanka and those living around the world must be seen as part of a single community, whose wishes and aspirations must be considered as a whole.

We request that the Times of India amends its news report and publishes this objection with equal prominence to the original article.

Rally to Remember Black July

admin | July 11th, 2014 | Comments Off

BTF Human Rights Team follows up on the HRC Resolution in Geneva

admin | June 19th, 2014 | Comments Off

Members of the Human Rights Team of BTF are currently present in Geneva attending the 26th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. The Human Rights Team persistently work for justice for the suffering Tamils in our homeland in the North and East of the Island of Sri Lanka. Read More

BTF condemns recent attacks on Muslims in Sri Lanka

admin | June 17th, 2014 | Comments Off

British Tamils Forum joins the international community in condemning the violence that is currently being targeted at the Muslim community in Sri Lanka. A Sri Lankan state supported organisation, the Bodu Bala Sena, which has very close links with the Defence Secretary Mr Gotabaya Rajapakse, is directly involved in the violence. On 15 June, the General Secretary of this organisation delivered an openly racist speech citing Muslims as a threat to the Sri Lanka’s Sinhala identity. Consequently, Sinhala thugs have attacked Muslim owned shops and houses in southern towns and cities. Read More