Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Rubbing shoulders with a war criminal - Boris Johnson welcomes Rajapaksa at COP26

British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and UN General Secretary, António Guterres, welcomed Sri Lankan President and war criminal, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, as British Tamil activists continued their protest outside the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26.

Over the last week, Scottish Tamils have been leading a widespread publicity campaign against Rajapaksa's visit. 

There have been a series of newspaper adverts, projections on landmarks across Scotland and online advertisements highlighting the war crimes committed by Sri Lanka during Rajapaksa’s tenure as Defence Secretary, including the bombing of hospitals, widespread sexual violence, torture and the execution of surrendering Tamils. 

"It's so disappointing to see our prime minister bump elbows with a war criminal," said one Scottish Tamil activist. "It's a good thing they're not shaking hands - Gotabaya's are stained with blood."

In 2013, the then British Prime Minister David Cameron refused to shake hands with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was then serving as Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). He had described meeting with the Rajapaksa brothers as one of “the worst tempered foreign meeting(s)” during his tenure.

"The defence minister who had supposedly issued orders for the terrible events at the end of the war, reared out to shake my hand," said Cameron. "I kept my hands by my side, and sat down.”

Read more on that here: Former British PM refused to shake Gotabaya’s hand in Colombo ‘showdown’

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.