Condemning British Prime Minister David Cameron for his decision to participate in CHOGM in Sri Lanka, TYO-UK, in a press statement released on Monday accused Mr. Cameron of engaging with a genocide-accused state and for “pushing for a solution to be chosen by the Sri Lankan government, one which the Tamil nation is threatened by.” The release further conveyed its dismay over the willingness of Britain and other countries to give approval to the Sri Lankan ‘reconciliation’ model, which in practice amounts to genocide of the Tamil nation. Speaking to TamilNet Shanyuga Ganesan, TYO activist and law student at the University of Leicester expressed her regret at Mr. Cameron’s decision. “For a Tamil youth whose vote now counts in this country, I can’t seem to digest the decision made by the Prime Minister to attend the CHOGM. We just feel like we are not being heard,” she said.
Full text of TYO-UK’s press release dated 11 November, 2013 follows:
The Tamil Youth Organisation UK strongly condemns the decision taken by the Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron, to attend the Commonwealth Summit hosted by the genocidal, chauvinist state of Sri Lanka.
PDF: Statement by TYO-UK
The Sri Lankan state is known to have committed crimes of genocide on the Eelam Tamil nation since its independence. After the supposed end of the ‘civil war’ in Sri Lanka, in May 2009, Sri Lanka continues to perpetrate acts of genocide on the Tamils. In the name of reconciliation once again the Tamil nation’s political aspirations and basic rights are being suppressed by the Sri Lankan state, which is sadly supported by the UN. The end of the civil war has not seen any improved situation for the Tamils; in-fact many would argue that a life for a Tamil has only got worse. Torture and rape of Tamils is a daily story in the north and east of Sri Lanka, which the Human Rights Watch has itself confirmed.
All these crimes take place and yet a summit where commonwealth values are upheld is to take place at the heart of a state where an entire nation is being threatened to be destroyed. Several human rights groups have called on the 53 Commonwealth heads of government, which include Britain and its former colonies, not to attend. As well as this following the boycott of the summit by the Canadian Prime Minister, the Indian Prime Minister has also taken a decision to not attend the summit in Colombo next week. The Tamil Nadu political parties have been pressuring the Prime Minister of India not to visit Colombo. On top of this, pressure has risen to its peak through protests and demonstrations of Tamil Nadu students advocating against the CHOGM and the genocide faced by the Eelam Tamils. Labour MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion said, “I want our Prime Minister to show his commitment as an international citizen and as a serious defender of human rights by joining the Canadian Prime Minister in his boycott of the meeting”.
From the Prime Minister’s recent meeting with some Tamil organisations and activists we have gathered that a Downing Street spokeswoman is quoted in saying: "We have consistently called for an independent inquiry into the allegations. To date, that has not happened. And the prime minister believes that in the absence of an independent investigation, an international inquiry would be needed."
We understand the value the British Government and the British Prime Minister puts on human rights, however us Tamils are nothing but outraged by this statement. We cannot seem to understand the reasons behind no real international action being taken on the issues faced in Sri Lanka. Even now the Prime Minister is pushing for a solution to be chosen by the Sri Lankan government, one which the Tamil nation is threatened by.
The Channel 4 documentary ‘No Fire Zone’, broadcasted just last week, further evidently proves systematic war crimes against the Tamils in Sri Lanka. In an interview, Callum Macrae states "Taken along with all other evidence of executions and mistreatment of prisoners at the end of the war, it suggests something systematic…suggests responsibility can go right to the very, very top". Four years on and still the Sri Lankan state has not been held accountable for these war crimes, crimes against humanity and most importantly crimes of genocide. Instead, they are being given time and space to commit more atrocities in the name of ‘reconciliation’, through which the Tamil nation is continuing to face structural genocide.
It is extremely saddening to know that time and time again the Sri Lankan state is looked upon as the ‘masters of reconciliation’. Britain as well as the rest of the International Community still seems to wish to engage with the state, as if four years has not shown enough of why this is a failure. Time and time again the International Community wishes to see investigation done through the hands of the perpetrators of genocide, and we, the Tamil youth of the UK are strongly against this form of action.
We are once again crying out and pushing for the Prime Minister to boycott this Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka, and believe that the Sri Lankan state should be removed from the list of Commonwealth nations. It has proven itself as a state which is incapable of upholding commonwealth values for over sixty years now through its on-going acts of genocide enacted on the Tamil nation. We therefore as well as calling for a boycott, call for an independent, international investigation into all crimes, including crimes of genocide committed by the Sri Lankan state.
We hope that the British Prime Minister and other Commonwealth nations take our calls into consideration and push for a boycott of the CHOGM immediately. We powerfully emphasise as the youth of an oppressed nation that no engagement with the Sri Lankan state will bring out a solution to the Tamil people. A solution that falls within a unitary state structure will not uphold the political aspirations of the Tamil people. An international referendum that recognises the Tamil nation, its homeland and its right to self-determination and sovereignty is the only way forward.