— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) January 14, 2021
Labour leader, Kier Starmer, raises deep concerns over Sri Lanka’s human rights record and calls upon the government to be “a strong voice on international accountability” during his Thai Pongal message.
In his message, he highlights Sri Lanka’s withdrawal from the 2015 UN Human Rights Council Resolution on accountability, justice, and reconciliation. He further called on the UK to show leadership on issues of international accountability and reaffirmed Labours commitment “to call for justice and human rights”.
This message comes in advance of a UN Human Rights Council session this March and as there are increasing calls for an independent international investigation into Tamil genocide.
During his message he further paid tribute to the contribution of British Tamils stating:
“I want to mark this occasion by extending my gratitude for the huge contribution the Tamil community has made during the pandemic. Whether on the frontline of the NHS, as keyworkers in our schools and public services or those supporting their communities in running mutual aid groups”.
Tamils for Labour have welcomed Starmer's remarks stating:
“Tamils for Labour wish to thank our leader for his warm ‘Thai Pongal Valthukkal’ and for stressing the need for International Accountability. We respectfully ask him to call on our Government to sponsor a Resolution to create an International Independent Investigative Mechanism relating to Sri Lanka. at the forthcoming 46th UN Human Rights Council Session”.
Starmer’s full statement is reproduced below:
Today, Tamils in the UK and around the world celebrate Thai Pongal, the Tamil harvest festival. It’s a time to give thanks for our families, friends and neighbours.
On behalf of everyone at the Labour Party, I want to wish Tamils here in the UK and around the world a very happy and peaceful Thai Pongal.
I want to mark this occasion by extending my gratitude for the huge contribution the Tamil community has made during the pandemic.
Whether on the frontline of the NHS, as keyworkers in our schools and public services or those supporting their communities in running mutual aid groups
And of course, we remember those who lost their lives over the last year.
This is also a time for us to reflect on the ongoing struggle for peace and justice in Sri Lanka.
I know that the current situation there is of great concern to many of you.
I too am deeply concerned that the Sri Lankan Government has withdrawn from the 2015 UN Human Rights Council Resolution on accountability justice and reconciliation.
The UK must continue to lead and be a strong voice on international accountability.
And the Labour Party will continue to work with the Tamil community to call for justice and human rights.
Sadly due to the restrictions, Pongal festivities will not be the same this year.
But in these times of great challenge, I know your resolve will endure.
I want to wish you all a happy, safe and peaceful Thai Pongal.
Thai Pongal Valthukkal.