Amidst a disastrous economic crisis, Invest Sri Lanka has removed a planned “investor forum” in Edinburgh from their website as concerns are raised over the country’s human rights record.
The move follows massive protests against the Sri Lankan regime’s attendance at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, given the country’s dire human rights record. Despite the cancelling of the Scottish event, Invest Sri Lanka is expected to hold a forum in London tomorrow.
During COP 26, Tamil demonstrators flocked to the DoubleTree Hilton hotel in Dunblane where accused war criminal and Sri Lanka's President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was staying.
"We will make sure that this war criminal does not escape from us or from justice," one protestor told Tamil Guardian.
The planned investor forum in Edinburgh was also to be held at a Hilton hotel and attended by figures such as the Governor and Director of Economic Research at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka; Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in the UK; the British Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Sri Lanka; and Chairman of Colombo Stock Exchange.
Vinthan, a Tamil lawyer who had attended the COP26 demonstrations responded to the event telling the Tamil Guardian.
“Britain must not launder their image. Future investments must be based tied to improvements in human rights and a recognition of the right of self-determination for Tamils”.
The events come as Sri Lanka engages in discussions with the IMF to seek a bailout and a restructuring of its debts.
During the diplomatic visit of Britain’s South Asian Minister, Lord Ahmad, members of the People Uprising Movement (P2P) and civil society members from the Eastern province who urged for Britain as a “voting member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to call for not only economic reform but state structural reform”.
This demand for support to be tied to structural reform in Sri Lanka has been supported by MPs across the world including Canadian MP, Gary Anandasangaree who wrote to the Managing Director at the IMF stating:
"At this critical juncture, the IMF has a responsibility to ensure that the current financial instability in Sir Lanka is not used to leverage support for military spending which would inevitably make IMF party to the continued atrocities of the Government of Sri Lanka and its military," he added.
See Invest Sri Lanka's website here.