British parliamentarians call for UK to rein in Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 04:30 GMT]
A group of Parliamentarians from all of Britain’s main political parties Tuesday condemned the assassination last week of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP K Sivanesan and, lamenting the recent exit of the international panel overseeing rights abuses probes in Sri Lanka, called on the UK government to take all possible steps to ensure that Government of Sri Lanka plays by accepted international rules.

The British All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Tamils expressed its serious concern at the decision of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) - headed by former Indian Chief Justice P N Bhagwati - to terminate its operations in Sri Lanka.

“Violence in Sri Lanka remains terribly and unacceptably high. The British APPG for Tamils deplores all killings and assassinations including the assassination of K. Sivanesan, a democratically elected member of the Sri Lankan parliament,” the MPs, said.

“The decision by the IIGEP to terminate operations raises serious questions about the claims made by the Government of Sri Lanka that it is taking all efforts to uphold human rights.

“It is extremely worrying that a reputable body such as the IIGEP has now concluded that there is no further use for it in probing the abductions, disappearances and extra-judicial killings which the Group was invited to investigate in September 2006”

The APPG welcomed comments by British Foreign Minister Lord Malloch-Brown at the UN Human Rights Council last week in which he criticized the Sri Lankan government of President Mahinda Rajapakse.

“[We] will now be asking the British Foreign Secretary to consider what other action is available to the British government and to take all possible steps to ensure that Government of Sri Lanka plays by accepted international rules,” the APPG said.

“A political solution to the continuing conflict in Sri Lanka is as vital now as ever. There must be an end to the spiral of violence if the seventh decade of an independent Sri Lanka is to be one of justice, peace and prosperity.”

The APPG for Tamils includes Parliamentarians from the ruling Labour party and the main opposition parties, the Convervatives and Liberal Democrats, as well as the Scottish National Party.



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