Visiting the Vanni region that bore the brunt of Sri Lanka’s genocidal offensive in 2009 and which has been under military occupation and accelerated Sinhala colonization post-Mu’l’livaaykkaal, Alistair Burt, British Conservative MP and Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), said "I have been pleased to see progress in some areas since the end of the conflict. The destructive force of war-tearing lives, families, societies and countries apart, is only too evident in this part of the country," the PTI reported on Thursday. Mr. Burt, who was a guest at the British funded ‘Sri Lanka Unites’ center, showed more interest in lauding “reconciliation and recovery” but was conspicuously silent on addressing the need for a just political solution for the genocide affected Eezham Tamil nation, Tamil activists from the UK told TamilNet.
"It is great to see young Sri Lankans leading efforts to heal wounds and to unite Sri Lankans of all backgrounds in the task of reconciliation and recovery," PTI quoted Minister Burt.
Mr. Burt appeared to be promoting the project of ‘Sri Lanka Unites’, a British sponsored NGO whose branch he claimed to be opening on his Twitter account.
“It will help young people build bridges between communities and secure a better future for all Sri Lankans,” he had further tweeted.
Sri Lanka Unites, together with organizations like International Alert, have been using ‘soft power’ in the recent past to persuade diaspora activists to give up the demand for a Tamil homeland and to work for reconciliation within the unitary Sri Lankan state.
Likewise, they have also implicitly discouraged the use of the Eezham Tamil identity by thrusting instead the ‘Sri Lankan’ identity.
In the last year, these organizations have also taken individual Tamil youth from the diaspora to the island to facilitate collaboration with the reconciliation agenda crafted by the genocidal Sri Lankan regime and its international backers.
However, the double-faced diplomacy used this year by Western governments on Sri Lanka in the light of the CHOGM, while on the one hand seems to be pushing the Sri Lankan government for greater accountability, on the other hand appears to be a bargaining pressure tactic.
Tamil activists from Canada remarked that this diplomacy was not being used to achieve anything concrete for the Eezham Tamils, but instead was only aiming at a reduction in rank of the delegates to be sent from countries in the West.
Burt’s statements during his visit to the island also prompted remarks from activists in the UK.
“The conversation should shift from boycotting CHOGM to shifting the venue out Sri Lanka in order to preserve the integrity of the Commonwealth, at a time when Commonwealth trade is assuming far greater importance to the UK,” Dr. Arujuna Sivananthan from the British Tamils for Conservatives told TamilNet.
“Sri Lanka is in clear breach of Latimer House and Harare principles and if CHOGM was to go ahead in Sri Lanka, the Commonwealth would cease to have any meaningful value as a values based organization,” he further added.
Alistair Burt is expected to debrief the All Party Parliamentary Group of Tamils (APPGT) on his arrival in the UK.