The UK All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils Chaired by Parliamentarian Lee Scott has written to the British Foreign Secretary on 16 February 2015 demanding the OISL report be released in March 2015 stating that “Tamil people in the UK and around the world, and most importantly the victims and witnesses of these genocidal crimes are looking to the OISL report to be released in March 2015.”
The letter reads:
I am writing to you as Chair of the APPGt in regard to the release of the OISL Report into the systematic genocide against Tamil people in Sri Lanka.
As Chair of APPGt and on behalf of Tamil Community in the UK I ask you and the British Government to ensure the PM’s commitment is kept, and there will be an International Independent Investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan State.
When the PM attended the Commonwealth Meeting in November 2013 he stated “Let me be very clear, if that investigation is not completed by March 2014 then I will use our position on the UN Human Rights Council to work with the UN Human Rights Commissioner and call for a full credible and independent international inquiry.”
The OISL report is due for release in March 2015 at the forthcoming 28th session. Since the election of President Sirisena there have been several statements made, many of which infer that the report of this investigation should be delayed. We cannot allow this to happen; the Tamil people have been waiting a long time for this report, its conclusions and recommendations. To let this be deferred is unacceptable; and it is very strongly felt that to do so will be to “kick this into the long grass”.
If the UNCHR were to agree to deferring this report; it would reflect on the opinion held by many including the UN Internal Review Panel chaired by Charles Petrie in 2012, which concluded that there was a great failure on behalf of the UN to adequately respond to early warnings…………
The OISL report into the systematic genocide against Tamil people in Sri Lanka should be released in March 2015 without postponement and there is no doubt that if this is not done, it would be seen to be a retrograde step for the UN if it is delayed; as well as reflecting on the opinion of the neutrality of the UN.
I have listed below some of the reasons I believe (on behalf of the APPGt) that it is absolutely essential that delivery of this report at the forthcoming session as promised is imperative:-
- Only Credible Accounting by the UN
- UN should not fail the Tamil people again
- The healing process needs the truth of the past to move forwards, and Sri Lanka cannot do it alone
- The accused is the Sri Lankan State – and the only way for the investigation to be acceptable to all is for it to be International and Independent
- There must be internationally recognised witness protection to facilitate the investigation
- There is no action plan to deliver justice through a domestic process
- I have continually asked for a list of people detained and released since the end of war in 2009 and never received this; families deserve to know where there relatives are.
- All guilty need to be brought to justice.
- The ban on diaspora organisations and individuals using UN Security Council resolution 1373 – this means NGOs; journalists and others including myself
On behalf of the The Tamil Community in the UK we urge you to ensure a greater contribution to the Human Rights of Tamil people in Sri Lanka and make sure the international process to bring accountability and justice are not derailed for the wrong reasons. The Tamil people in the UK and around the world, and most importantly the victims and witnesses of these genocidal crimes are looking to the OISL report to be released in March 2015 to work towards this.
Therefore, in closing, I would ask you to continue with your support for the Tamil Community and ensure that the report will be released in March 2015 and the recommendations contained therein has be adhered to by the International Community.
I am sending a copy of this to the Prime Minister and the Minister so they are aware of the issues.
Lee Scott MP
Chair All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils