Amnesty International's Northern Ireland branch condemned the actions of the suspended DUP MP, Ian Paisley who failed to declare two luxury holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government whilst lobbying to prevent against a resolution calling for an investigation into the mass atrocities, but stressed that the real scandal was that the victims of the crimes continued to be denied justice.
“Ian Paisley’s historic suspension from parliament has received a lot of attention, but let us not forget that the real victims of this scandal are those who were disappeared, tortured and killed in Sri Lanka. This is really a scandal about an MP attempting to stand in the way of international justice for the tens of thousands of civilians who lost their lives at the hands of the Sri Lankan government and the so-called Tamil Tigers," Patrick Corrigan, Head of Amnesty International in Northern Ireland said in a statement today.
“Mr Paisley saw fit to lobby the Prime Minister against a UN investigation into gross human rights violations, including the mass-killing of civilians at the end of the Sri Lankan war, for which no adequate investigation has ever been carried out. Mr Paisley’s intervention – which the House of Commons has found to be a breach of the rules on paid advocacy - was a moral disgrace, serving the interests of an abusive regime, not its victims."
“Amnesty has long held concerns about Sri Lanka’s attempts to whitewash its image and both delay and deny justice for the families of those who were killed or disappeared, including through the use of accommodating parliamentarians. This episode should serve as a reminder that, nine years on from the end of the Sri Lankan civil war, its victims are still waiting for justice.”
Read statement here in full.
MPs today voted in favour of suspending Mr Paisley from parliament for 30 days. Meanwhile the DUP announced it would be suspending Mr Paisley pending further investigation into the matter.