An Early Day Motion (EDM) was tabled by UK MPs to recognise that 12 years have passed since the end of the armed conflict and to urge the government to sanction accused war criminal Shavendra Silva.
Silva, who currently serves as the Acting Chief of Defence Staff and the Commander of the Sri Lankan Army, is credibly accused of gross violations of human rights through command responsibility.
Silva led the 58 Division as the Sri Lankan government launched a massive military assault that saw hospitals repeatedly bombed, widespread sexual violence, torture and the execution of surrendering Tamils. The 58 Division in particular stands accused of the most egregious of crimes.
The motion also expresses deep concern that "very little investigation and some of those facing investigation hold powerful positions in Sri Lanka today."
Full text of the EDM below:
That this house recognises that 12 years on from the end of the Sri Lankan civil war, most alleged human rights abuses primarily against Tamil people are yet to be investigated; acknowledges that those allegations include indiscriminate bombing in no~fire zones, summary executions of surrenderers, torture, sexual violence and abductions; appreciates the UK Government has played a vital role as leaders of the core group on Sri Lanka within the Human Rights Council; remains deeply concerned that despite various international resolutions and the establishment in 2015 of institutions in Sri Lanka to investigate the impact of the war, very little investigation has taken place and some of those facing investigation hold powerful positions in Sri Lanka today; is further concerned that in recent months the independence of the judiciary has been undermined by amendments to the Sri Lankan constitution and has little confidence any further investigations will take place; calls on the UK government to take action as laid out by various hon. Members in recent debates; and urges the Government to mark the 12th anniversary by following the equivalent actions of the US in adding General Shavendra Silva, Acting Chief of Defence Staff and the Commander of the Sri Lankan Army to the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, thus demonstrating the UK’s commitment to international human rights obligations and that international action is the only way that accountability, reconciliation and peace will come to the beautiful island of Sri Lanka and all of its people across the world.
The EDM has gained cross party support. The following Members have signed to support the motion; Anne McLaughlin Scottish National Party (SNP) MP for Glasgow North East, Navendu Mishra Labour MP for Stockport, Jonathan Edwards Independent MP for Carmathen East and Dinefwr, Chris Law SNP MP for Dundee West, Claudia Webbe Independent MP for Leicester East, Margaret Ferrier Independent MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, Jim Shannon Democratic Unionist Party for Strangford, Alyn Smith SNP MP for Glasgow Central, Marion Fellow SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, Alan Brown SNP MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun, Chris Stephens SNP MP for Glasgow South West, Allan Dorans SNP MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock and Richard Thomson SNP MP for Gordon.