Meeting with leader of the Tamil National Alliance, R. Sampanthan, and parliamentarian M.A Sumanthiran, British Minister for South Asia Tariq Ahmad spoke on the need to address long-term Tamil concerns including ensuring Sri Lanka meets commitments under UN Human Rights Councils Resolution 46/1.
Useful meetings with Hon. R. Sampanthan and Hon. M.A Sumanthiran @TNAmediaoffice. Discussed addressing long-term Tamil concerns for reconciliation, justice and accountability & the need to see progress on commitments made including those on in UNHRC 46/1 . pic.twitter.com/S1sHJwoBuB
— Lord (Tariq)Ahmad of Wimbledon (@tariqahmadbt) January 20, 2022
The meeting comes as part of a 3-day tour of Sri Lanka during which the minister made historic trips to Jaffna and Trincomalee. During his travels, the minister has met with the governors of the North and Eastern provinces as well as with the coordinator of the P2P movement.
In advance of his visit to Sri Lanka, Ahmad penned an op-ed in Daily Mirror LK which stressed the importance of the Geneva process in providing “an essential framework for all those supporting Sri Lanka’s progress on peace, accountability, reconciliation, and social cohesion following the civil war”. The UK led the latest UN resolution which mandated the collection and preservation of evidence that may be used in a future war crimes tribunal. Sri Lanka bitterly opposed the resolution describing it as “unwarranted, unjustified”, and “illegal”.
His visit comes as the TNA alongside other prominent Tamil political parties has written to India demanding the implementation of the 13th amendment as the starting point towards a federal solution. However, the Tamil National People’s Front and P2P movement have spoken out against the 13th amendment as a starting point.
“As long as Sri Lanka remains a unitary state with absolute powers in the hands of the Sinhala politicians, the structural genocide of Tamils will not stop. We do not believe a solution based on the 13th amendment or similar provisions will lead to long-lasting peace” the P2P movement stressed in a letter to the British minister.
See more on Ahmad’s visit in our feature: Trade, climate and human rights – Britain’s South Asia Minister tours Tamil homeland