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British MPs slam arrest of Tamil civil society leader

Responding to the arrest of Tamil civil society leader Velan Swamigal, British MPs have expressed their deepening concern over the continued persecution of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

On Twitter, Elliot Colburn, MP for Carshalton and Wallington and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils, noted his concerns stating:

The civil society leader was arrested alongside several other demonstrators on Sunday for reportedly "obstructing police duties" as they continued their protest against Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, as he visited Jaffna. During the peaceful protests, Sri Lankan police attempted to break up the demonstrations through the use of water cannons and the erecting of barriers. Swamigal has since been released on bail.

Colburn’s statement follows that of MP for Mitcham and Morden, Siobhain McDonagh, who similarly stated on Twitter:

The statement comes as British MPs have repeatedly raised alarm over Sri Lanka's abhorrent human rights record. Labour leader, Keir Starmer, raised specific concerns over "the ongoing persecution of Tamils" during his Thai Pongal message and renewed his party's commitment to justice and accountability for Tamils. He was joined by a range of politicians from across the political aisle.

Davey's called the arrest of Velan Swamigal "disturbing". The leader of the Liberal Democrats noted he had asked the Foreign Secretary to communicate to Sri Lankan diplomats that the "harassment of civil society is unacceptable". 



Read more here: British MPs celebrate Thai Pongal and renew calls for accountability 

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