Gareth Thomas for Harrow West has urged British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, to condemn the destruction of a Mullivaikkal memorial at Jaffna university.
In his letter, he maintains that an important step in achieving “a basic level of truth, justice and accountability” is condemning the destruction of the monument, which commemorated the tens of thousands of Tamils slaughtered during the final stages of the armed conflict.
The right to remember is integral
Thomas highlighted the importance of a right to remembrance stating that it was an “integral part of the reconciliation and justice process’.
“Destroying the memorial monument directly undermines this process and is an attempt to erase the history and identity of Tamils in Sri Lanka”, he added.
The letter also quoted UN Special Rapporteur Pablo de Greiff’s June 2020 report which notes “surveillance, intimidation and arrests continue to hamper memorialisation activities; family members of victims do not have access to memorials and monuments, some of which have been deliberately destroyed; and the prohibition on the memorialisation of fallen Tamil Tigers persists.”
Human Rights Monitoring
Thomas also calls upon the government to ensure that a resolution is passed at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council session this march, which ensures human rights monitoring by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
His letter calls on the government to:
Mandate a mechanism to gather, preserve and analyse evidence for future investigations and prosecutions that build on the work of previous UN investigators; and call on the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on options for international action for the promotion and protection of accountability, human rights and justice in Sri Lanka.
A number of other MPs including Siobhain McDonagh, who has also voiced their concerns over the recent demolition this week after many Tamil constituents, have called for similar monitoring mechanisms. They are supported by over a hundred UK Tamil organisations.
This week, I have written to the Foreign Sec, calling on him to condemn the destruction of the Mullivaikkal monument in Sri Lanka.
— Gareth Thomas MP (@GarethThomasMP) January 13, 2021