UK Tamils welcome Conservatives’ concern for Tamils in Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 September 2009, 10:00 GMT]
Tamils in Britain have welcomed the statement last week by the main opposition Conservative Party highlighting the ongoing suffering of over 280,000 Tamils held in barbed-wire ringed, militarised detention camps in Sri Lanka. Noting the Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague’s expressions of “serious concern” over the confinement of Tamils in the camps, and those by the Shadow Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox, during his recent visit to Sri Lanka, the British Tamils Forum (BTF) said Wednesday it will continue to engage with all political parties and others in Britain to bring a permanent end to the suffering of the Tamil people in their traditional homeland.

The BTF was responding to the Conservative Party’s statement on the 100th day since Sri Lanka put the last of Tamil civilians in the Vanni into internment camps.

“100 days on from the conflict which blighted Sri Lanka for decades, William Hague has expressed serious concerns about the fate of the innocent civilians who are now residing in internment camps,” the Party said.

Mr. Hague called for UN and relief organisations to be given "full and unrestricted access to provide shelter, food, water, and medicine, and to oversee the screening process," the statement said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Liam Fox had assured the parliamentary group leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Mr. R. Sampanthan, that his party would contribute its maximum for the betterment of Tamils in Sri Lanka and it would work hard to see Tamils live with dignity if it comes to power in next year’s election.

The full text of the BTF statement follows:

British Tamils Forum welcomes the statement last week by the Conservative Party highlighting the ongoing suffering of over 280,000 Tamils held in barbed-wire ringed, militarised detention camps in Sri Lanka.

We welcome the expressions of serious concern by Rt Hon William Hague and the Conservative Party regarding the ongoing imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of Tamils.

We also welcome the Conservative party’s efforts to urge Sri Lanka’s ultra-nationalist government to adhere to its commitment to allow the Tamil people of Vanni back to their homes.

British Tamils share Mr. Hague’s observation that the continued confinement of the Tamil people in camps “will simply sow the seeds of discontent and may lead to renewed conflict in years to come.”

Noting Shadow Defence Secretary Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox’s recent visit to Sri Lanka, we are encouraged by comments attributed to him in media reports regarding the welfare and rights of the Tamil people.

Dr. Fox is reported to have impressed upon Sri Lanka’s hard-line President, Mahinda Rajapakse, that the legitimate rights of the Tamil people should be safeguarded and the displaced people now being held in government camps should be resettled without delay.

The Chairman for the British Tamils Forum, Mr Nathan Kumar, on behalf of the membership, emphasises the point that “a humanitarian crisis is recurring week after week in Sri Lanka’s camps and ending the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of Tamils is the foremost priority of the British Tamils Forum”.

British Tamils Forum would like to highlight that the Sri Lankan Government was able to use “the defeat of terrorism” as a veil, to carry out its military campaign with impunity to quash the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people, and now strongly reiterate that the elimination of these factors holds no rationale for any limitations on access to aid agencies, international monitors and free media.

British Tamils Forum will continue to engage with all political parties and others in Britain to bring a permanent end to the suffering of the Tamil people in their traditional homeland.

 

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