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21 French MPs call on Macron to ‘use all influence' and end ‘persecution of Tamils in Sri Lanka'

French President Emmanuel Macron

Over 20 French MPs have called on President Emmanuel Macron to ensure that France "as a member of the United Nations Security Council, use all its influence" and “enable the Tamil people to finally live in safety in Sri Lanka”.

Parliamentarians from all over France including overseas territories brought attention to “the alarming situation in which the Tamil community currently finds itself in Sri Lanka” in a letter to President Macron.

In the letter, the MPs highlight the Sri Lankan state’s “lack of real progress” and “pervasive form of insidious stigma against the Tamil community in Sri Lanka” as well as the Sri Lankan government’s failure to “put in place a transitional justice process, allowing the trial of war criminals, as well as to establish reparation procedures in favour of people deprived of their property and land” as indicated by the UN resolution of 2015.

The letter also emphasises the deteriorating situation of Tamils in Sri Lanka, referring to “the re-emergence of hate speech, process of disinformation and political manipulation against Tamils”, and “the practice of torture and surveillance” of Tamil political prisoners through the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), while on the other hand “amnesties are granted to former Sinhala combatants”; as well as failure to reinstate looted lands to the Tamil community.

Shavendra Silva’s appointment as head of the Sri Lankan Army despite his well-known “involvement in war crimes and crimes against mankind during the civil war” is also underlined in the letter.

The politicians called on France to “act urgently” and “use all its influence for the success of real, lasting and shared peace in Sri Lanka” as a member of the United Nations Security Council; and concluded:

“Persecution and discrimination against the Tamil community must cease immediately, crimes committed during the civil war must be recognized and punished as well as looted land returned. France must put all its power in to enable the Tamil people to finally live in safety in Sri Lanka.”

See the letter and English translation below: 

 

The letter in English:

 

"Mister President,

We would like to draw your attention to the alarming situation in which the Tamil community currently finds itself in Sri Lanka.

If the civil war ended in 2009, several factors lead the international authorities to believe that a rampant conflict continues to take place. Since 2015, various resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council have called on the Sri Lankan government to take all necessary measures to put in place a transitional justice process, allowing the trial of war criminals, as well as to establish reparation procedures in favour of people deprived of their property and land. This is particularly the case for the resolutions “Fostering reconciliation and establishing responsibilities and promoting human rights in Sri Lanka” from 2015, 2017 and 2019 (A/HRC/RES/30/1, ACRES/34/1, A/HRC/RES/40/1).

However, in a report from December 2018 (A/HRC/40/52/Add.3), the UN Human Rights Council Law regrets the lack of real progress and notes a pervasive form of insidious stigma against the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.

The situation of this community has clearly deteriorated since the beginning of the year 2019: today we are witnessing the re-emergence of hate speech, process of disinformation and political manipulation against Tamils. Adding to this is the practice of torture and surveillance, made possible by a law of prevention of terrorism resulting in prolonged detentions of Tamil political prisoners Tamil, even as amnesties are granted to former Sinhala combatants. The process of restoring looted lands to the Tamil community also remains a dead end.

Finally, in August 2019, General Shavendra Silva was appointed head of the Sri Lankan army while his involvement in war crimes and crimes against mankind during the civil war in Sri Lanka is known. Ms. Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights immediately said in this regard that "The promotion of General Silva seriously compromised the commitment of Sri Lanka to promote justice and accountability in the context of Human Rights Council resolution 30/1”

We know the will of our diplomacy to promote respect for human rights in the world. However, it seems that the action of our country has been insufficient to support the implementation of the reconciliation and justice process in Sri Lanka. France, which has welcomed many Tamil refugees, must act urgently and, as a member of the United Nations Security Council, use all its influence for the success of real, lasting and shared peace in Sri Lanka.

Persecution and discrimination against the Tamil community must cease immediately, crimes committed during the civil war must be recognized and punished as well as looted land returned. France must put all its power in to enable the Tamil people to finally live in safety in Sri Lanka.

Yours Sincerely, 

Jean-Christophe Lagarde – MP for Seine-Saint-Denis – Member of the study group on the Tamil people
Marie-George Buffet – MP for Seine-Saint-Denis – President of the study group on the Tamil people
Clémentine Autain - MP for Seine-Saint-Denis
François Pupponi - MP for Val-d'Oise – Member of the study group on the Tamil people
Jean-Félix Acquaviva – MP for Haute-Corse
Emmanuelle Anthoine – MP for la Drôme
Ericka Bareigts – MP for Réunion
Olivier Damaisin – MP for Lot-and-Garonne
Alain David – MP for Gironde
Caroline Fiat – MP for Meurthe and Moselle
Régis Juanico – MP for Loire
Yannick Kerlogot – MP for Côtes d'Armor
Sonia Krimi – MP for Manche
Jean-Paul Lecoq – MP for Seine-Maritime
Paul Molac – MP for Morbihan
Sébastien Nadot – MP for Haute-Garonne
Bérengère Poletti – MP for Ardennes
Gabriel Serville – MP for Guyane
Eric Straumann – MP for Haut-Rhin
Michèle Victory – MP for l'Ardèche
Sylvia Pinel – MP for Tarn-et-Garonne

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