Huge support for Tamils at Conservative Party Conference
The British Tamil Conservatives (BTC) hosted their annual reception at the Conservative Party Conference last weekend, where they were joined by Parliamentarians who pledged to work for justice for Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Paul Scully, the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils and Deputy Chairman of the Conservative party, spoke of the "horrendous end to the civil war where there was a genocide and ethnic cleansing" and highlighted the need for an independent judiciary to ensure that those responsible for war crimes are held accountable. He added that it was crucial that Sri Lanka complies with the United Nations Resolution 30/1 to ensure genuine accountability and reconciliation.
A message was read out on behalf of Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, telling the audience that he is working within UK Parliament to recognise Mullivaikkal as a genocide.
Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and MP for Chipping Barnet, assured her support to the Tamil community in their search for justice and reminded the audience that it has been ten years since the conflict ended but "no one has been held accountable for the atrocities and war crimes that took place and the UK supports an international inquiry into those abuses."
She added that the pressure should remain on the Sri Lankan government, "not just for accountability, but for normalisation in human rights, the economy and demilitarisation."
Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, said that it was "absolutely wrong that war criminals are appointed to government positions in Sri Lanka. They should answer for their war crimes at The Hague."
Speaking at the event, Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, said that "it has been ten long years waiting for justice" and urged that the United Nations and the international community need to do more to ensure that Resolution 30/1 is implemented fully by the Sri Lankan state.
Conservative Party Chairman, James Cleverly, thanked the Tamil community for making a huge difference and that their work is "noticed, appreciated and valued." This was echoed by the Secretary of State for International Development, Alok Sharma and Conservative candidate for the 2020 London mayoral election, Shaun Bailey, who called the Tamil community a "powerful community."
Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and Weald, also thanked BTC for their "fantastic work" and that the Conservative party must "continue the work that David Cameron started and continue the fight for justice for Tamils."