British leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer has raised concern over the continued persecution of Tamils in Sri Lanka in his Thai Pongal message and stressed the need for accountability and justice.
Whilst celebrating the harvest festival, Starmer also stressed that now is a time “to remember the sacrifices made by the Tamil people for self-determination, peace, and justice in Sri Lanka”.
He goes on to state his deep concern over “the ongoing economic crisis, persecution of the Tamil people, and the political instability in Sri Lanka”.
Stammer’s statement comes in advance of the fourth Universal Periodic Review Cycle of the United Nations Human Rights Council during which Sri Lanka’s human rights record will come under scrutiny. The latest report by the UN High Commissioner raises concerns over the lack of progress on issues of accountability and notes a worrying trend of militarisation.
Starmer stressed that “the British government has a clear responsibility to ensure that the Sri Lankan government to ensure that the Sri Lankan government can no longer delay supporting justice and accountability”.
He concluded his statement by emphasising that “the Labour Party will continue to work with the Tamil Community to call for justice and human rights”.
Celebrating Thai Pongal Sen Kandiah, Chair of Tamils for Labour stated:
“In this special day for Tamil People around the world, we welcome the message from the Leader of the Labour Party recognising the sacrifices made by the Tamil people for self-determination and justice. His call for the current British Government to act should result in sanctioning the Sri Lankan Government political leaders and officials by Britain as happened in Canada few days back”
Read Starmer's full statement here.