Trip to the UN

Yesterday I attended the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in my capacity as vice chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils, talking with diplomats, politicians and NGOs about the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. You can watch my video report here.

I first visited Geneva soon after my election as part of the successful campaign to secure a UN resolution to bring about an end to ongoing human rights abuses in Sri Lanka - as well as a process of truth, justice and reconciliation following the atrocities committed on both sides during the Sri Lankan civil war.

The Sri Lankan Government signed up to that UN resolution and made a number of important commitments - including a commitment to involve international judges and prosecutors in the investigation and prosecution of alleged war crimes. But, as I said in Geneva, progress has been too slow and in some cases the Sri Lankan Government simply refuses to comply. Reports of ongoing human rights abuses continue to emerge.

Yesterday, I met with representatives from the EU, India, Germany, Canada and Macedonia - as well as our own mission and the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. I urged them to keep up the focus on human rights in Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council; to press for a time-bound commitment to the full implementation of the UN's resolutions on Sri Lanka; to push for the establishment of a UN OCHR office in Sri Lanka to monitor progress; and to heed the UN High Commissioner's call to look at how universal jurisdiction might be applied to bring those responsible for human rights abuses to justice.

Many of my Tamil constituents bear the scars - physical and mental - of the brutal and bloody Sri Lankan civil war. Many fear returning to Sri Lanka and worry for their families. Yesterday I met a group of Sri Lankan women whose husbands and children went missing and have never been found. It was heartbreaking.

Just this week we've seen shocking reports of violence against Sri Lanka's Muslim minority and a state of emergency declared by the Sri Lankan Government in response. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils stands in solidarity with Sri Lanka's Muslim community against this appalling intimidation and violence.

I want to see truth, justice and reconciliation for all the peoples of Sri Lanka. I will continue to do everything I can as a Member of Parliament to keep up the pressure.

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