Westminster exhibition on Tamil genocide brings MPs to voice for international investigations
MPs, peers from the House of Lords and a cross-party group of politicians endorsed the call for an independent, international investigation into allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka, at an exhibition organized by the BTF and APPGT held Tuesday at Portcullis House, a parliamentary building in Westminster. The exhibition highlighted the protracted nature of the genocide of the Eezham Tamils through a creative use of artwork, paintings, newspaper clippings, slides and documentaries. The event was widely welcomed by those who attended, including the shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander, Labour MP for Wolverhampton South-East, Pat McFadden, Lord Quirk, Father Emmanuel of Global Tamil Forum (GTF), and Lord Kennedy. "We must stop the genocide of the Tamils. The world must stop the barbarism of the Sri Lankan regimen," Robert Halfon, Conservative MP from Harlow said at the venue.
Focusing on a central gallery of slides highlighting the overwhelming evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, as well as the ongoing militarisation and colonization in Tamil Eelam by the Sri Lankan state, the exhibition also included a short video depicting the testimonies of survivors, as well as art work illustrating the horrors endured by the Tamils in their homeland.
A few key eyewitnesses from the last stages of the war on the Eezham Tamil people were also present at the event.
The visitors were deeply moved by a set of 80 slides titled ‘Annihilation of Tamils and their disappearing land – 60 years on’, sources told TamilNet.
In a strong statement condemning Sri Lanka, Robert Halfon, Conservative MP, Harlow said "We must stop the genocide of the Tamils. The world must stop the barbarism of the Sri Lankan regimen"
"The need for international independent investigation into the crimes and atrocities that have taken place in Sri Lanka is clear from your exhibition and the UK has a responsibility to act to make this happen," said Heidi Alexander, Labour MP Lewisham East.
She was complemented by Adrian Bailey, Labour MP, West Bromwich who opined that “This display illustrates that persecution and injustice still prevail in Sri Lanka. They underline the need for international investigation and action."
The chairman of the APPGT, Lee Scott, Conservative MP for Ilford North, pledged to continue to fight for justice for the Eezham Tamils.
Former UK defence secretary Liam Fox was also present at the venue.
Stressing the need for swift international action, a BTF press release said that “If the international community fails to act now, the Tamil population and their identity would be completely wiped out from Sri Lanka within a short period, completing the structural genocide.”
Organised by the British Tamil Forum (BTF) and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT), the event was supported by Tamil youth who guided attendees through the exhibition, including members of the Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO UK) and Tamil youth from Holland.
British Tamils Forum (BTF), Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), Holland Tamil Forum (HTF), UK Tamils Youth Organisation (TYO-UK) and Tamil Information Centre (TIC) helped in research and fact compilation for this exhibition, the organisers said.
Working in collaboration with Tamil societies at London universities, the TYO-UK designed a creative exhibit detailing the eight stages of the genocide of Eezham Tamils.