British Aid worker suspends hunger strike
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 09 June 2009, 12:08 GMT]
Over 500 people gathered in London outside Parliament, for a ceremony to mark the end of a hunger strike carried out by Tim Martin, a British former aid worker and director of the human rights group Act Now. Martin responded to assurances of help if he ended his hunger strike outside the Houses of Parliament in London, England, after a 21 day campaign taking only liquids, according to his supporters.
Supporters attending event to conclude the strike
Mr Martin's campaign's objective was to raise the awareness of the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka, and was centred on an urgent appeal to President Obama, the UK Government and the UN, to press for action to protect the devastated Tamil civilian population and uncover the true scale of the humanitarian disaster in Sri Lanka, campaign organizers said.
During these 21 days, news of further atrocities and abuses in Sri Lanka have come to light - some obtained from Mr Martin's own contact network in Sri Lanka.
News of increasing opposition, amongst US politicians and lawmakers, to the request by the Sri Lankan Government for an IMF loan, is reassuring to those, like Tim Martin, who believed Obama would not repeat the mistakes of the past including Clinton on Rwanda, and that Obama's ultimate stance on Sri Lanka will be a benchmark of his presidency, in terms of human rights issues, campaign organizers said.
A number of British politicians from across the political divide, including Simon Hughes MP and Tony Benn, as well as many members of the Tamil community, have met with MR Martin to lend their support for his hunger strike. British celebrities including Sian Evans, singer of the band Kosheen, and Deborah Leng have also attended to offer their support.
Act Now has been reporting on the ongoing atrocities in Sri Lanka over the past few months, releasing information from aid contacts. These reports have been verified in recent coverage from Channel 4 and The Times newspaper UK.