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British Tamil woman enters 12th day of hunger strike demanding justice for genocide

A British Tamil woman who has been on hunger strike in London, demanding the international community deliver justice for the Tamil genocide, has entered her 12th day of protest this morning.

Ambihai K Selvakumar, a director of the International Centre for the Prevention of Genocide (ICPPG), has refused food and only having water, as she called on the international community to act and “save our kith and kin back home in Tamil Eelam”. Her health has continued to deteriorate, causing great concern amongst family, friends and the local community who are calling for her to conclude her hunger strike and for the British government to respond.

Selvakumar's protest has sparked a number of solidarity hunger strikes across world and in the Tamil homeland, including in BatticaloaAmparai and Jaffna. 

Yesterday, Selvakumar praised the UK Labour Party as it called on the British government to “comprehensively rewrite” the current proposed UN resolution on accountability in Sri Lanka and questioned why the government’s review of its Global Human Rights sanctions regime does not include “a single senior Sri Lankan government minister, official or military officer”.

The current draft of the resolution, which the UN Human Rights Council is set to vote on alter this month, calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to "collect" as well as "consolidate, analyse and preserve” evidence that could be used in future war crimes trials. However, it has failed to implement UN High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet's recommendations which call on member states to consider asset freezes and travel bans on Sri Lankan officials credibly accused of human rights abuses and to consider “steps towards the referral of the situation in Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court (ICC)".

The drafts have come under criticism from Tamil activists who have said “it still doesn't do enough to alleviate our most fundamental concerns”.

“12 years is a long time to wait,” said Selvakumar. “We have been facing genocide since 1948 by successive governments of Sri Lanka. We need justice. We need peace. We need breathing space. Let us live. I plead to the international community. Please allow the Tamils to live peacefully. The only way we can do that now is to bring a strong resolution at the UN Human Rights Council’s 46th Session.”

“I trust the international community and the UN will not let us down,” she concluded.

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