European Conservative bloc calls for maximum autonomy for Tamil areas, justice for war crimes

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 29 June 2011, 03:36 GMT]
A center-right bloc of Conservative parliamentarians in the European Parliament Tuesday expressed support for “a just and peaceful solution for the Tamil community of Sri Lanka” and for “a negotiated political solution which can achieve maximum autonomy and regional devolution to Tamil majority areas within a single Sri Lankan state”, as well as “justice for all alleged war crimes committed by both sides during the conflict.” In a statement, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group and British Conservative MEPs said whilst they support the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, they also support the “peaceful and democratic pursuit of all political goals.”

The influential ECR Group of MEPs, formed in 2009, consists of a core of 56 MEPs from nine countries and is the fourth largest group in the European Parliament.

The full text of the statement follows:

The ECR Group and British Conservative MEPs support a just and peaceful solution for the Tamil community of Sri Lanka by for instance supporting calls for a negotiated political solution which can achieve maximum autonomy and regional devolution to Tamil majority areas within a single Sri Lankan state, as well as justice for all alleged war crimes committed by both sides during the conflict.

We support the territorial integrity and unity of Sri Lanka and hope all communities can find a way to live together in future, but we also support the peaceful and democratic pursuit of all political goals. We totally oppose the pursuit of political goals by violence.

We condemn any climate of impunity anywhere and strongly insist that any alleged war crimes or other reported atrocities be fully investigated and, if proven, the perpetrators punished. The EU listed the LTTE as a terrorist group in 2006, a decision we support absolutely, but we also demand that Sri Lankan government forces also be held accountable for possible violations of the rules of war.

We are horrified by the events detailed in the Channel 4 documentary, and note that footage of summary execution of prisoners has been deemed authentic by the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings.

We call on the Sri Lankan government to respond positively to the UN Panel of Expert’s and to consider including a foreign component to the LLRC and to fully implement its findings. If the LLRC by the end of this year has not delivered on a full impartial investigation into the credible allegations of atrocities at the close of the civil war in 2009 then an international commission of enquiry is something the UK Government and the EU member states may wish to consider given the atrocious scale and horrendous nature of the credible allegations made.

The EU currently has suspended GSP+ trade concessions. Under the terms of the suspension they will not be extended to Sri Lanka, until Sri Lanka meets its international human rights obligations, which should include action on the issue of war crimes.

 

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