British officials held secretive Belfast meeting with Sri Lanka after Mu'l'livaaykkaal

[TamilNet, Sunday, 10 August 2014, 00:02 GMT]
UK government lawyers are claiming there are no minutes available from a controversial meeting held between British officials and a Sri Lankan military adviser at Belfast's Policing Board HQ one month after the genocidal onsluaght on Vanni in 2009. The revelation comes after a year-long legal battle to get full disclosure from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to a Freedom of Information request. The British government withdrew its national security exemptions just days before the matter was to due to be decided by a judge at the Information Tribunal. The Belfast meeting related to the deployment of two senior Northern Ireland police officers to Sri Lanka as “critical friends” of the regime during the final stages of the genocidal onslaught in 2009.

Britain has voted for a UN investigation into war crimes allegedly carried out by Sri Lankan forces during precisely this period. David Cameron has said that 'Sri Lankans' “need to know the truth about what happened during those terrible years of the civil war so that they can move forward.”

The Freedom of Information request asked for documents from a meeting between Catherine Weiss, a Foreign Office civil servant, and Sanjaya Colonne, an adviser to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence, that was held in the chairman's office of the Northern Ireland Policing Board on 18 June 2009.

The UN estimates that at least 70,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the final months of conflict while UN expert Yasmin Sooka has said that over 100000 Tamils might have been killed in that period. Hundreds of thousands of survivors were then interned in barbed wire camps.

The FCO claims the only information it holds regarding the Belfast meeting is a single sentence, briefing Catherine Weiss in advance to agree further assistance from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to Sri Lanka.

No minutes from the actual meeting are available, suggesting it was held off-the-record. The PSNI officers continued to work with Sri Lanka. The PSNI project had started in February 2009, at a time when hospitals were being bombed by the Sri Lankan military.

One of the PSNI officers involved, Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland, visited Iraq in 2007 and co-authored a report that urged the creation of Belfast-style “peace walls” in Baghdad to reduce sectarian violence. McCausland invited a US marine corps unit to Belfast, prior to deploying to Iraq's Anbar province, so it could learn how the PSNI took the lead security role when working with the army.

The PSNI is Britain's most militarised police force. Officers drive armoured jeeps and routinely use batons rounds and water cannon to deal with riots. Both PSNI officers who visited Sri Lanka in 2009 had extensive experience of counter terrorism and public order.

Yasmine Ahmed from Rights Watch UK told the Guardian on Friday, “The British public has a right to know the nature and extent of UK government cooperation with and support to the Sri Lankan Government during a period of brutal violence and severe human rights abuses against the Tamil population. Any information about this meeting must be disclosed so that the public can be assured of the nature of the involvement of UK police forces. It is inconceivable that no records were kept of the contents of this meeting and we call on the Government to disclose such information.”

Related Articles:
10.07.14   British State complicity in genocide of Eezham Tamils explor..
15.10.13   UK deployed 2 top police officials to assist SL Police in 20..

External Links:
The Guardian: PSNI organised meeting with Sri Lanka military adviser after Tamil massacre


Latest 15 Reports
20.10.17 07:02  
Jaffna University students boycott classes against manipulative justice of genocidal Sri Lanka
19.10.17 17:11   Photo
Sirisena disappoints student leaders, Cooray humiliates families of hunger-striking prisoners
18.10.17 23:45  
Eastern Provincial Land authority discriminates Tamils
17.10.17 18:46   Photo
Paramilitary operative employed at Cooray's secretariat in Jaffna harasses public servants
16.10.17 07:15   Photo
UN Refugee agency ignorant of stranded Tamil refugees in Indonesia
15.10.17 19:12  
Tamil fisherman rammed by intruding Sinhala fishermens’ boat, fishing disputes escalate in Jaffna
14.10.17 07:34   Photo
Tamil protesters confront Maithiripala Sirisena in Jaffna
13.10.17 17:40   Photo
North at standstill, Sampanthan not to accompany Sirisena to Jaffna
12.10.17 23:35  
SL military postpones land release for 2 years as UN awarded Colombo with 2 more years in Geneva
11.10.17 23:48   Photo
20 Tamil organisations to lay siege to SL Governor's office on Friday
10.10.17 22:05   Photo
SL ‘Manipulative Justice’ exposed once again in Tamil political prisoners’ case: Sivapalan
09.10.17 22:09  
Protests gain momentum as hunger-striking political prisoners’ health deteriorates
08.10.17 23:00   Photo
SL constitutional discourse seen coupled with ‘Vision 2025’ policy of genocidal Sri Lanka
07.10.17 23:21  
Colombo brings Sinhala private partnerships to wage structural genocide in Vanni
06.10.17 23:22  
Uprooted Tamils face ultimatum on proving land ownership in strategic Kokku’laay
Find this article at: