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UK Conservatives support accountability in Sri Lanka

At a packed event at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, the party warned that it will push Sri Lanka for accountability and support a UN report if progress isn’t seen from the LLRC.

Conservative MP and former diplomat Richard Graham spoke at the event and said,

“ministers have made it clear to the Sri Lankan government that if the LLRC does turn out to be a whitewash and finds no real culpability at the top, you can be absolutely sure we will push hard for a formal UN report.

See the report from Freedom from Torture here.

The event, follows on from last week’s ‘Tamils for Labour’ event at the Labour Party Conference, where Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander said that the Labour party's entire front bench agreed that Sri Lanka’s LLRC, is not capable of holding an independent inquiry and called for an international investigation into war crimes.

Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International have also said the LLRC is “flawed at every level” along with the Tamil National Alliance who also slammed it as “flawed” with “limited mandate”.

He also stated it was critical for the moral authority of the UK that there is an absolutely transparent report into what happened”, given allegations of Britain’s complicity in those alleged war crimes.

Graham then went on to urge Sri Lanka to “come back to sharing values that all members of the Commonwealth hold dear, including democracy and human rights” and warned Sri Lanka that it was “only on that basis” that they would host the 2013 Commonwealth leaders meeting.

The 2013 CHOGM in Sri Lanka looks to be increasingly under threat after the Canadian Prime Minister vowed to boycott the meeting unless Sri Lanka fixed up its human rights record and the Australian Greens party filed a motion calling for Sri Lanka’s suspension from the Commonwealth.

Freedom from Torture’s Keith Best, Human Rights Watch’s David Mepham and director of Channel 4’s acclaimed documentary Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields Callum Macrae also spoke at the event, which started with the airing of a clip from the documentary.

Joined by Best and Mepham, Macrae denounced the British government’s decision to deport 50 failed asylum seekers and said Britain’s non-existent monitoring of the returnees was “entirely ridiculous”.

“giving returnees the British High Commission's phone number in Colombo is hardly a lot of use if you have been detained and tortured or are too scared for your family’s safety to speak out".

See our earlier post: 'Bid to halt deportation fails, Tamils detained on arrival in Colombo' (Sep 2011)

Also see our earlier feature: 'British MPs turn up the heat on Sri Lanka' (Sep 2011)

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