The Sri Lankan President and his brother, the Prime Minister, face accusations of crimes against humanity for their role in killing thousands of their own people—Tamil civilians, at the end of the civil war, Siobhain McDonagh, a Labour Party MP who has represented London’s Mitcham and Morden constituency since 1997 told the Ilakku weekly in an interview.
See the full interview below:
Q: The current Sri Lankan government under Gotabhaya Rajapakse has withdrawn from the resolution 30/1 made in the UN Human Rights session in 2015.
In such a backdrop, what strategy does the british government which is expected to play a leading role in the forthcoming 46th session of HRC plan to adopt in order to make sure that the SL government is held accountable for crimes committed during the genocidal war that came to an end in SL in 2009?
A: As a Labour MP and member of the opposition, I cannot confirm what action the Government will be taking. But on Thursday 11th February I will be bringing a cross-party debate to the floor of the House of Commons on the UK’s commitment to reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. A Government Minister will be responding in the debate and I hope will give clarity on the Government’s stance ahead of the upcoming UN Human Rights Council meeting.
Q: How would the Sri Lankan Tamils both within the country and outside act in order to exert pressure on the member countries of the HRC to take strong and effective measures to hold those accused of war crimes in Sri Lanka accountable for their crimes and mete out justice to the affected Tamil people
A: I would encourage them to contact their local and national representatives directly to ask what actions they will be taking in advance of the 46th session of the HRC.
Q: The current President of Sri Lanka, Mr.Gotabhaya Rajapakse has been appointing military leaders to important civil responsibilities. How would Britain, which excels in parliamentary democracy respond to this worrying situation?
A: The challenges in Sri Lanka are well documented. Its President and his brother, the Prime Minister, face accusations of crimes against humanity for their role in killing thousands of their own people—Tamil civilians, at the end of the civil war. They have placed their closest allies in senior Government positions, including military commanders accused of war crimes and politicians accused of corruption, violence and common criminality. I will be raising this loud and clear at the upcoming debate in the House of Commons. How the UK responds to the ongoing injustice in Sri Lanka and in support of democracy, human rights and the rule of law will speak volumes for our leadership role on the international stage.
Pic: Irish world