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Labour Party to extend support for Lankan Tamils


Sri Lankan Tamils have faced great hardships
Sri Lankan Tamils have faced great hardships

The Labour Party will reaffirm its strongest possible support for the Sri Lankan Tamils to express their solidarity with the minority community in both the countries, a media report said on Saturday.

Leading figures from the Party, including party leader, Jeremy Corbyn MP, the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP, and the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry MP – will be attending Tamils for Labour event next week to express their solidarity with the Tamil people, both in the UK and in Sri Lanka.

The meeting, due to take place in the UK Parliament on February 28th, comes at a particularly opportune time, according to Colombo Gazette newspaper.

It will coincide with the opening of the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, where the situation in Sri Lanka – in particular Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s Government’s unwillingness to support the full implementation of UNHRC Resolution 30/1 on Sri Lanka – will be a focus of discussions.

The event in Parliament will provide an important forum to hear more about the pressure the Labour Party can bring to bear on the UK Government to ensure the Sri Lankan authorities abide by the commitments they made in Resolution 30/1, the report said.

Sen Kandiah, Chair of Tamils for Labour, said he was delighted Corbyn and so many Shadow Cabinet members and Labour MPs will be attending the event.

Kandiah said Labour has always stood alongside and spoken up for the Tamil people.

“With a crucial UNHRC Session about to commence, the Party has a vital role to play in helping to highlight the on-going cases of human rights abuses committed against the Tamil community in Sri Lanka and in supporting our people’s legitimate demands for truth, justice, accountability and self-determination on the island,” he added.

In 2009 the then British foreign minister David Miliband of the Labour Party and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner were accused of trying to influence the Sri Lankan government to stop the military offensive against the LTTE.

They toured Sri Lanka in April 2009 a few weeks ahead of the end to the military victory.