In their annual report, British ministers and MPs renewed their commitment to “fighting for truth, justice and accountability for Tamils” whilst highlighting the ongoing abuses suffered by those in Sri Lanka.
In detailing their accomplishments over the past year the report highlights the passage of UNHRC resolution 46/1 which will enable the UN to “collect, consolidate, analyse and preserve information and evidence, and to develop possible strategies for future accountability processes for gross violations of human rights”.
The APPGT further added that they will “continue putting pressure on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to give the mechanism a real bite so it can actually address the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka”.
The letter also details two meetings with British Minister for South Asia, the United Nations and the Commonwealth, Lord Ahmad in which they raised their concern over Sri Lanka’s human rights abuses.
Police training and militarisation
The report also detailed the APPGT’s distress overseeing the assault and arrest of Tamil National People’s Front MP, Kajendran Selvarajah in Jaffna. Following this arrest, members of the APPGT wrote to the British Foreign Secretary raising alarm and urging her to raise it with her Sri Lankan counterpart.
The letter also notes that November saw Police Scotland end its training contract with Sri Lanka amidst raised concerns over Sri Lanka’s dire human rights record.
“We welcome the move to end police training in Sri Lanka. It sends a strong message to the government there that human rights abuses are unacceptable and the international community will not support the use of military or police to intimidate innocent people”.
However, there remain concerns with the British government refusing to rule out any future programmes.
Speaking on the need for sanctions, the APPGT met with Dr Madurika Rasaratnam from City University of London who briefed the group on the impact of international sanctions and how they may be put pressure on countries committing human rights abuses.
The APPGT with renewed calls for the British government to follow the lead of the US and sanction the head of Sri Lanka’s army Shavendra Silva.
Read more here: #TimetoSanction campaign calls for bans on Sri Lankan generals
Tamil Guardian’s Instagram suspension
Commenting on Tamil Guardian’s suspension on Instagram, the APPGT noted their concern stating that it was “completely unjustified”.
MPs subsequently wrote to Facebook raising their alarm and held a subsequent briefing with Tamil Guardian’s Editor-in-Chief, Thusiyan Nandakumar.
The suspension garnered was also covered by the US-outlet the Intercept.
Read more here: FACEBOOK’S TAMIL CENSORSHIP HIGHLIGHTS RISKS TO EVERYONE
Read the full APPGT report here.