The former British home secretary, David Blunkett described what took place during the final stages of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka in 2009 as a “genocide” and called for it to be “properly investigated”, meeting with members of the Tamil community at an Advice Surgery last Saturday.
Mr Blunkett said he “believed genocide had taken place on the island of Sri Lanka and that evidence that human rights violations had occurred during the armed conflict in 2009 must be properly investigated.”
He went on to express “disappointment at Sri Lanka’s obstruction of the currently ongoing UN Human Rights Council mandated investigation into alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka” and adding his support “to the need for an independent international investigation on abuses that have happened in Sri Lanka.”
Mr Blunkett, who is currently the Labour MP for Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough, was the UK home secretary from 2001 to 2004.
The Tamil community representatives, also members of the British Tamils Forum (BTF) said they had met with Mr Blunkett “to garner support for UK Tamil organisations and individuals that have been targeted by Sri Lanka’s efforts to silence dissent through the use of UN Security Council Resolution 1373.”
In March, the BTF was proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the Sri Lankan government, along side 14 other diaspora organisations and over 400 Tamil diaspora individuals.
Warning that the ban should not be used “to prevent of stifle free speech and legitimate criticism”, a spokesperson for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) told the Tamil Guardian at the time:
“The UK government has good relations with a wide range of NGOs and civil society organisations with an interest in Sri Lanka including the Global Tamil Forum and British Tamils Forum both of whom publicly state that they work through democratic means [and] the UK will continue to engage with organisations focused on achieving a lasting and equitable peace in Sri Lanka through non-violent means,”