British envoy in Colombo speaks on diaspora engagement with Sri Lanka

The British High Commissioner in Colombo was answering a question on “the ways in which the Sri Lankan diaspora in the UK could support development in Sri Lanka,” said a note of the High Commission’s website last Tuesday, introducing the 13th edition of a PR exercise video series, “Ask the High Commissioner,” initiated by the mission in Colombo. The High Commissioner was in fact answering a question, “What is the Sri Lankan diaspora in the UK doing to assist Sri Lanka,” and he was citing the example of a multi-ethnic group of young doctors from the diaspora visiting the island recently.

“That is precisely the sort of diaspora engagement which we have been supporting and will continue to support in future,” the High Commissioner said.

The diaspora coming from the island and living in the UK is predominantly genocide-affected Eezham Tamil that despises the imposition of Sri Lankan identity. Precisely that is why most of the diaspora had to land in the UK. But the psychological genocide continues even in the UK, commented diaspora activists.

How to assist its nation in the island to arrest the on-going genocide is the obsession of the diaspora even amidst its own struggle in saving itself from the onslaughts of the Establishments, the activists said.

Even when the British High Commissioner was speaking on medical assistance and collaboration, the High Commission in Colombo wishes to project it as Sri Lankan diaspora supporting ‘development’ in Sri Lanka, implying wrong leads to the Eezham Tamil diaspora in the UK, the activists further said, adding that thanks to the activities of the Establishments, the word ‘development’ is understood almost as a synonym of genocide.

In August 2007, the British government came out with The UK Peace Building Strategy (PBS) for the island, drafted by its Ministry of Defence and Department for International Development of the Foreign And Commonwealth Office.

The thrust of the strategy was simultaneously strengthening ‘development’ and Sri Lanka’s military to achieve peace.

Encouraging “key opinion formers, including those in the UK diaspora, to pursue every avenue for peacefully resolving the conflict,” was part of the strategy.

“The UK security forces have acquired expertise (principally from Northern Ireland and UN Peacekeeping operations) in policing conflict zones in a way that reduces tensions and violence. In 2001 the UK government established the Security Sector Development Advisory Team (SSDAT) as a centre of excellence for UK supported Security Sector Reform (SSR) activity, as part of its Global Conflict Prevention Pool activity. The SSDAT have a broad range of expertise on Policing, Justice, Defence and Intelligence and Security. They are available to provide practical support to the Peace Building Strategies objectives in Sri Lanka,” the 2007 PBS document said.

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