London borough wants justice

Law Courts 2Redbridge Council, a borough in the North-East of London, passed a motion calling on the British government and the UN to ensure justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the Tamil people.

The motion, which was unopposed, also calls for a “permanent political solution addressing the root cause of the conflict which will meet the aspirations of the Tamil people in their home nation” and a mechanism which ensures that “socio-economic and cultural wellbeing is enhanced while safeguarding historical identity within their Tamil nation.”

Deputy Leader of Redbridge Council, Cllr Wes Streeting of the Labour Party, said in a press statement:

“The Tamil community is an important part of our diverse borough in Redbridge and Redbridge Council have spoken with one voice in support of their demands for justice. Unspeakable crimes against humanity were committed during the civil war and the world looked the other way. It is time for an independent international inquiry into war crimes so that we can finally see truth, justice and reconciliation for all the peoples of Sri Lanka.”

The motion, passed on Thursday, noted that “over many decades the Tamil people in Sri Lanka have been the subject of atrocities of genocidal proportions committed by the Sri Lankan government”, adding that Tamils continued to be subjected to “genocidal landgrabs” by the government.

See full text of the motion below:

“Council notes that over many decades the Tamil people in Sri Lanka have been the subject of atrocities of genocidal proportions committed by the Sri Lankan government. The Tamils are also the subject of genocidal land-grabs overseen by the government. In May 2009, according to UN reports, over 70,000 civilians were killed in just a few weeks mainly due to shelling and aerial bombardment by the Sri Lankan armed forces. During the onslaught by the Sinhala state on the Tamil people, the British Tamils including residents of the London Borough of Redbridge poured on to the streets of London in mass rallies and held vigils in Parliament Square and elsewhere in order to call upon our government to take active measures to stop the onslaught. Similarly, Tamil people around the world called upon their respective governments but their calls fell on deaf ears.

Council also notes that the international community, having supported the Sri Lankan state in its war efforts based on its promise to address the root cause of the conflict, is beginning to see that there is no will on the part of the Sri Lankan state to do so. Our country’s actions during and subsequent to the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 resulted in the Human Rights Council adopting a resolution requesting the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ‘to undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes’.

Council further notes that the report resulting from the said investigation was scheduled to be published in March 2015. The international community has again failed to deliver on its promises by its intentional postponement of publication of the report.

In light of the above Council resolves to ask the Chief Executive to write to the following:

1. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

2. British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

3. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

4. Secretary General of the United Nations

Requesting that they take concerted efforts in order to facilitate the delivery of:

(i) A permanent political solution addressing the root cause of the conflict which will meet the aspirations of the Tamil people in their home nation.

(ii) Justice for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the Tamil people.

(iii) A mechanism which will ensure the socio-economic and cultural wellbeing is enhanced while safeguarding historical identity within their Tamil nation.”

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