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London’s leading mayoral candidates on the Tamil issue …

Statement from Ken Livingstone, the opposition Labour party’s candidate for Mayor of London (March 27):

 “I welcome the resolution passed on 22nd March at the UN Human Rights Commission calling on Sri Lanka to take credible action towards genuine reconciliation. The terrible crimes committed by the Sri Lankan military against Tamil civilians during the final stages of the war are now undeniable. These crimes along with Sri Lanka’s ongoing pattern of abuse directed at the Tamil population warrant the label of genocide.

“[The UNHRC] resolution is a first but still important step in the process of establishing a truly independent and international investigation of Sri Lanka’s conduct.

“From my long association with the Tamil community it is clear to me that the situation in Sri Lanka has not improved. Almost three years after the war ended the Sri Lankan military’s occupation of the Tamil speaking areas persists. Human rights abuses continue unabated and Tamils are still refused the opportunity to rebuild their shattered lives. I share the Tamil community’s hope that the international community will now move swiftly to hold Sri Lanka to account for its past and present behaviour.

“The Tamil community has added greatly to London’s cultural and economic life. Along with the many small businesses, Tamils working across the public and private sectors make an important contribution to the economy. The Tamil community’s traditions of music and dance as well as the many temple festivals celebrated across the city have also enriched London’s cultural life. I pledge my continued support as they take forward their efforts to ensure a just and dignified peace for the Tamil people of Sri Lanka.

Statement by Boris Johnson, London’s Mayor (Conservative Party) on March 23:

“I have been following the desperate situation in Sri Lanka with concern for some time. In light of last year’s Channel 4 documentary ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ and the follow-up film broadcast last night, I would like to offer my continued support and condolences to all those affected by the conflict, including British Tamils.

“London is home to tens of thousands of British Tamils, who are an integral part of our community in London and around the country. Their contribution to life in the capital, particularly through business creation, food and music is greatly valued by all of us.

We stand by our fellow Londoners as they continue to mourn the loved ones they tragically lost during the last days of fighting in northern Sri Lanka.”

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