The British Premier, David Cameron, briefing the House of Commons on his trip to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), reiterating his calls for a credible, independent and international inquiry into Sri Lanka's war crimes should Colombo fail to undertake its own by March.
Following Cameron's summary of his CHOGM trip, the House of Commons embarked on an extensive discussion regarding the issues Tamils faced in Sri Lanka.
Responding to David Cameron’s opening parliamentary discussion statement, opposition leader Ed Miliband, questioned,
“But by Sunday, President Rajapaksa had already appeared to reject this. The UN human rights commissioner called two years ago for an internationally-led inquiry, and we have supported that call. Is not the right thing to do now to build international support for that internationally-led process?”
“after the summit the Sri Lankan President will be chair of the Commonwealth for the next two years…Did the Prime Minister have any discussions at the summit with other countries about whether President Rajapaksa was an appropriate person to play that role?”
Miliband ended stating,
“Britain must do what it can to ensure that the truth emerges about the crimes that were committed, so that there can be justice for those who have suffered so much. When the Government act to make that happen, we will support them.”
Responding to further questions about his commitment to supporting an independent inquiry, Cameron reiterated,
“Just to be clear, I have not said we might support it; I have said we will support it. What is required is an independent inquiry, and if there is not a proper independent inquiry we will-not might, push for an independent international inquiry in March.”
Highlighting the need for a specific investigation into war crimes, MP for Eddisbury, Stephen O’brien, said,
“In relation to CHOGM, the Sri Lankan President proposes a truth and reconciliation process, but that is not adequate to meet the concerns and anxieties about alleged war crimes. We therefore need to follow the processes proposed by the Prime Minister, however good the truth and reconciliation processes have been in South Africa and Mali.”
Responding to questions on imminent reprisals for those that spoke to him on his visit to Jaffna, the British Premier said,
“We should do everything we can, including through the high commission, to make sure that nobody who spoke out or met me suffers in any way at all.”
Commenting on remarks by MPs on cases of Tamil asylum seekers that have been deported and faced torture, the Premier said,
“Our asylum policies should be based on the latest information and on proper judgements about whether people are likely to be tortured or persecuted on their return. That is not a decision that is made by Prime Ministers, or even by Ministers, but it is right that those decisions are properly taken account of in each case, and that is the way it should happen.”