England cricket captain says decision to tour Sri Lanka lies with the government
Tamil Guardian 16 March 2012
Speaking as the English cricket team began their tour of Sri Lanka, England’s cricket captain Andrew Strauss stated that it was up to the British government to decide whether or not to tour the island.
As Sri Lanka comes under increasing pressure regarding allegations of war crimes and the airing of Channel 4's documentary on British television on Wednesday night, Strauss was questioned on whether the English team was comfortable playing cricket against Sri Lanka. He commented,
"It's a bit of a tricky one. All round us, we see atrocities taking place all over the world and in war a lot of unsavoury things happen on both sides. I personally think the political issues are best dealt with by the politicians and administrators."
"But that doesn't mean we should stick our heads in the sand. If the government feel there is cases to answer to a great enough extent that the England team shouldn't be touring somewhere then that is a call they need to make. Until that is the case, it would be wrong for us to focus on anything other than the cricket."
"You must be careful that if you are investigating anything, you investigate it very thoroughly because otherwise there's nothing worse than a little bit of knowledge.
When asked by the BBC if Strauss or any other members of them team had wanted to find out more on Sri Lanka’s human rights violations, he responded,
“I think it’s something that you keep an eye out for when you see it in the news... But ultimately there are people that are paid to look into these things, and they’re mainly in the government. They need to do their job and we need to do ours. ”
Human rights violations continue to occur in the Tamil North-East with militarisation by Sri Lankan troops at its peak said co-spokesperson of the Tamil Civil Society Forum Father Elil Rajendram.
The events of Black July in 1983, where thousands of Tamils were killed by Sri Lankan government backed mobs, must be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice, said Together Against Genocide (TAG).
The chief minister of the northern province told delegates of the World Bank during their visit to Jaffna on Friday that the Sri Lankan government was ignoring Tamil demands for decentralisation of powers.