Tamils from across the UK set off this evening as they head to Glasgow to protest Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s appearance at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26.
The protest forms part of a high profile campaign by Scottish Tamil activists against Rajapaksa’s first high profile public visit to the UK.
There have been a series of newspaper adverts, projections on landmarks across Scotland and online advertisements highlighting the war crimes committed by Sri Lanka during Rajapaksa’s tenure as Defence Secretary.
As Defence Secretary, Rajapaksa oversaw a genocidal military offensive which saw the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils, repeated shelling of hospitals, widespread sexual violence, torture and the execution of surrendering Tamils, which Rajapaksa is accused of personally ordering.
He has repeatedly vowed not to prosecute those accused of war crimes, which includes senior military generals and his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is currently Sri Lanka’s prime minister.
Last week, a landmark legal submission was filed with the International Criminal Court (ICC) calling on the Chief Prosecutor to “investigate and in due course arrest” several senior Sri Lankan officials, including Rajapaksa, for crimes against humanity.