British Conservative Parliamentarian Eleanor Laing, who led a 6-member all-party parliamentary delegation from UK to Sri Lanka last week, has ‘hailed the progress in the country following the end of the war’. The British parliamentarian from Epping Forest has expressed “hope for Sri Lanka’s future, saying that one cannot compare human rights in Britain to human rights in Sri Lanka as the island suffered 30 years of war,” a report filed by Xinhua said quoting her as saying: "There is a lot of hope for the future. We are very positive about Sri Lanka. I believe reconciliation is important. We should not rake back the past." While the genocide was being committed on Eezham Tamils in the war, the British representative at the UNSC and later the MI6 chief has gone on record for defending the war by saying that the LTTE was long blighting the SL government.
The present delegation, that doesn’t want to "rake back the past" has no qualms about imposing back the 25-year-old rot of the 13th Amendment upon the Eezham Tamils, after all what had happened and what is happening, responded Tamil activists for alternative politics in the island, citing the delegation saying that the Northern Provincial Council election scheduled to be held in September “will be very important”.
The delegation and its international backers remain intentionally blind to the pathetic affairs in the East where such elections had already taken place, the activists said.
In the meantime, the opposition parliamentarian Simon Danczuk of the Labour Party, has also gone on record stating that he had no issues with British Prime Minister David Cameron’s attending the CHOGM summit in Sri Lanka. He has ‘sounded optimism that investigations and legal proceedings will progress’, the news report by Xinhua said with reference to investigations on the killing of a British tourist in December 2011 at a resort in Tangalle.
The Labour MP has said that Sri Lankan Minister Basil Rajapaksa had apologized over the incident in which British national Khuram Shaikh was killed and his girlfriend was raped. "I am cautiously optimistic about the case progressing,” the Labour politician has said.
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The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA UK), working with the British High Commission in Colombo, announced on 18th July that the delegation will undertake a parliamentary diplomacy programme in Sri Lanka from 21-26 July 2013.
The aim of the programme, according to CPA UK, was to enable Westminster to understand better the challenges faced by their Sri Lankan and Maldivian colleagues, with a particular emphasis on the political landscape and post-conflict and reconciliation issues.
The delegation comprised of four Members and two Peers: Eleanor Laing MP (Con, Delegation Leader), Simon Danczuk MP (Lab), Jonathan Djanogly MP (Con), Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town (Lab), Kerry McCarthy MP (Lab) and Lord Sheikh (Con).
The programme was organised and hosted by the British High Commission in Colombo.
CPA UK’s membership is made up of members from all parties and both Houses of the United Kingdom Parliament.
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The only news posting by the British mission in Sri Lanka on the visit by the delegation, dealt with their visit to Hambantota, Matara and Galle, follows:
Published 26 July 2013
The British Parliamentary delegation currently in Sri Lanka visited the South of the country yesterday.
They visited a number of projects in Hambantota, Matara and Galle.
Amongst the many positive developments that the delegation saw in the South were two UK funded projects. In Matara, they learnt about efforts to improve community policing, supported by the British High Commission. They met police officers who use bicycle patrols to help engage with the community, as well as local organisations that help to promote a crime-free society in the area. In Galle, members of the delegation heard about the devastating impact of the tsunami on the coast of Sri Lanka. They met a British couple who are engaged in teaching swimming as a life skill to those at the community level with the help of UK Government funds. The delegation were impressed with the “commitment and dedication evident in this project, and the clear good it is doing among the local community here.”
The delegation will conclude their visit to Sri Lanka today in meetings with Parliament and the Government.