Responding to the planned visit of Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe to the UK to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, British Tamils have expressed their concerns.
#SriLanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe paid his respects to the late HM Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Hall in London.#QueenElizabethIIMemorial pic.twitter.com/vwtyDDR3Ez #LKA @RW_UNP @RoyalFamily
— Sri Lanka Tweet (@SriLankaTweet) September 18, 2022
The Sri Lankan president has attended the funeral following growing international condemnation over his violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators and exploitative use of emergency powers. A dinner is reportedly being held for Sri Lanka's president at the Sri Lankan High Commission on Monday night.
The latest UN report raises deep alarm over the deep culture of impunity and increasing militarisation, a trend continued by the current Sri Lankan president.
In 2018, British Tamils joined in a protest organised by the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam against then Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing the Oxford Union. During this address, Wickremesinghe railed against the need for international investigators to examine war crimes by the Sri Lankan army during the armed conflict.
During the final phase of the war, Sri Lanka’s military indiscriminately shelled hospitals, food lines and designated ‘no fire zones’. An estimated 169,796 Tamils were slaughtered during this final campaign. The latest UN report highlights not only a long-standing culture of impunity on the island but also the active reversal of progress with war criminals appointed to senior government postings.
“In 2018, we protested against Wickremesinghe’s visit because he only served to whitewash Sri Lanka’s atrocities. Today nothing has changed. He should not be given the privilege of visiting queen during this period of national mourning”, S Yogalingam, a spokesperson for the Transitional Government of Tamil Eelam, told the Tamil Guardian.
Another Tamil activist expressed their disappointment over Wickremesinghe’s visit noting that in 2013, the Queen did not attend the Commonwealth Conference in Sri Lanka given the concerns over the island’s human rights record.
“This was the first time in 40 years that the Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II, was not present at the CHOGM […] Her Majesty’s absence gave us hope,” he told our journalists.
“The attendance of Wickremesinghe does nothing but sully the proceedings”, he added.
Throughout the UK and in Sri Lanka, Tamils have paid their respects to the late monarch and have celebrated her accomplishments.
Read more here: Eelam Tamils commemorate death of Queen Elizabeth