The Labour party would seek to pass a resolution at the European Union in view of facilitating discussions on sanctions against Sri Lanka, party MEPs, MPs and running candidates, said at a press conference on Friday.
Claude Moraes, a Labour party MEP, said that the party stood ready to ask questions that looked to move further than the international war crimes investigation into Sri Lanka by raising resolutions in order to ensure justice for victims through different methods such as sanctions.
Lucy Anderson, a Labour Party candidate for London for the EU parliament, who previously worked as a solicitor in the field of human rights, further added that the EU could be used at crucial times to raise discussion on the right political solution for Tamils in Sri Lanka.
The Labour Shadow Minister for Europe and MP for Harrow West, Gareth Thomas, said that the EU would play a role in continuing to shine the spotlight on Sri Lanka, adding that there ‘are still huge concerns about the ongoing abuses in Sri Lanka, and that there was ‘no real attempt to move forward in human rights.’
The party also pledged to work towards finding a political settlement to the island’s long running ethnic conflict, that respected the rights of all communities, including the Tamils in the North-East.
“A political solution in Sri Lanka that is accepted by the Tamils in the North-East should be considered,” Mr. Thomas said, agreeing with a member of the audience that some form of political settlement was needed to ensure true justice and reconciliation.
Meanwhile a question had also been asked in the European Parliament 23 April 2014 by MP Claude Moraes (S&D) on Sri Lanka. He asked parliament:
………….’ On Thursday, 27 March 2014, the UN Human Rights Council adopted its latest resolution on Sri Lanka. This provides a mandate to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to investigate the alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka in the final years of the country’s armed conflict. Additionally, in recent weeks, there has been a crackdown on Tamils and human rights defenders in Sri Lanka. Prominent human rights defenders were arrested and detained in the north of the country whilst the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council was taking place.’
1. What steps is the Vice-President/High Representative taking, or what steps will she take, to support the investigation by the OHCHR?
2. What consideration has the Vice-President/High Representative given to the fact that the Government of Sri Lanka has already confirmed that it will not cooperate with the inquiry?
3. What steps is the Vice-President/High Representative taking to ensure that the Government of Sri Lanka complies with its international obligations?
4. What recent assessment has the Vice-President/High Representative made of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, particularly in the former conflict areas in the north?
5. What action is the Vice-President/High Representative taking to ensure that the Government of Sri Lanka works towards ensuring that a lasting political solution is secured?