Responding to the arrest of 7 Tamils by Sri Lankan police during Maaveerar Naal commemorations, British MP Siobhain McDonagh stressed the need to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and respect the right of Tamils to remember their loved ones.
Very concerned by the Sri Lankan govt preventing Tamil memorialisation, and the arrests of Tamils in the North-East.
They were arrested under the PTA for wanting to remember their loved ones.
The U.K. govt must push for the repeal of the PTA and for Tamils’ right to remember
— Siobhain McDonagh MP (@Siobhain_Mc) November 30, 2023
The arrests were carried out, primarily in the East of the island, as Tamils carried red and yellow flags during the memorial. Amongst those detained is a Batticaloa district organiser for the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF). Others were arrested for hiring out vehicles or power generators, or at commemorations themselves which were stormed by Sri Lankan security officers.
They were arrested amidst the memorial under Sri Lanka's notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The PTA has been used for decades against Tamils to arbitrarily arrest and detain people, violate fair trial rights, and put detainees at risk of torture. Despite pledges to repeal the PTA, Sri Lanka has consistently failed to do so.
Speaking before the the 42nd Universal Period Review of human rights, UK permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, Simon Manley CMG, stressed that Sri Lanka must “allow all its communities freely to commemorate and memorialize victims of the civil war”.
Maaveerar Naal is marked on November 27 in memory of the first death of a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam cadre (LTTE), Lt. Shankar who died in combat on November 27, 1982..