British MPs urge UK to seek ‘robust and independent’ probe into Sri Lanka war crimes

[TamilNet, Saturday, 19 February 2011, 21:59 GMT]
Several dozen parliamentarians from Britain’s three main political parties have written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging an independent international investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka. The petition, organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group For Tamils (APPG-T), called for “Britain’s support for a robust and independent international investigation that would clarify what occurred during the conflict and offer the best hope of a sustainable peace in Sri Lanka.” The letter also referred to a similar call recently by several members of the US Congress.

The full text of the press release from the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils follows:

British MPs urge the Prime Minister to support an independent, international war crimes investigation in Sri Lanka

Today, 41 British MPs drawn from the three major parties at Westminster, have written to the British Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to add Britain’s support to calls for an independent, international inquiry into allegations of war crimes committed during Sri Lanka’s 25 year civil conflict (letter is attached). The MPs are all Members or Supporters of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils.

This is a major issue of concern for British parliamentarians, and follows credible evidence provided by the US State Department, the European Commission and International Crisis Group, as well as the findings of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, that war crimes could have taken place in Sri Lanka. The MPs believe it is important for the future prospects of peace and reconciliation on the island that these allegations are investigated in a robust and impartial fashion.

The timing of this letter is significant. It comes as the international community awaits publication of the report of the United Nations Advisory Panel, appointed by Ban Ki-Moon to advise him on the matter of war crimes accountability in Sri Lanka.

Vice Chair of the Group, Siobhain McDonagh MP, said:

“The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have made welcome statements recently about the need for Sri Lanka to have a credible and independent way of addressing these allegations of violations human rights during the civil war. But this can only have credibility if it takes place under international auspices because serious concerns have been raised around the world about Sri Lanka’s previous efforts to investigate severe human rights abuses.

“If he supports the All Party Group in this way, the Prime Minister will be sending a powerful message to the United Nations Secretary General that Britain backs an independent, international war crimes inquiry. He would also send a powerful message to the people of Sri Lanka that Britain supports human rights, justice, reconciliation and peace on the island.”

 

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