Sri lankan's Unbiased Online Daily

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British Parliament Debates the Sri Lanka's Rights Situations
Wednesday, 15 October 2008 09:32


London - British parliament debated Sri Lanka's humanitarian situation as the debate was requested by Joan Ryan, the ruling Labour party MP from London's Enfield North constituency. British government said at least 500,000 people are internally displaced in Sri Lanka due to the ongoing conflict.
Joan Ryan MP said, the Government of Sri Lanka being the party which was unilaterally abroagetted from the cease fire agreement it is the government of Sri Lanka?s responsibility to make the concrete effort to bring back the sustainable Cease Fire Agreement sooner.

The debate in the Westminster parliament was attended by the, Under Secretary of State on International Development, Michael Foster, MP, said a majority, approximately 220,000 people are repeatedly displaced in the north.

"At least 30,000 people have been displaced on average five times," he said.

The British government has increased its aid to the Sri Lanka and urged the Sri Lankan government facilitate the work of impartial humanitarian agencies.

"The UK is constantly monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka and has increased its humanitarian aid in light of the circumstances on the ground," Mr. Foster said.

The UK government, he said, also "lobbied for an immediate delivery of UN food aid to avoid starvation in the north".

In areas under LTTE control, the minister said, there is no tolerance of dissent or freedom of expression.

"The LTTE need to develop its role as a credible partner in peace. It cannot continue to persecute people just because they have opposing views," he said.

The British government called for an immediate stop to child recruitment.

"Similarly, in the south we have seen restrictions on the freedom of expression with journalists and newspaper agents intimidated and killed. Three democratically elected MPs are killed during the last few years," Mr. Foster said.

Welcoming "Sri Lanka government's commitment to protect civilian population," Minister Michael Foster urged all parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.

Meanwhile, Rt Hon Keith Vazz MP called on the British government to condemn the bombing of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Another Labour MP Barry Gardiner questioned and criticised the Sri Lanka Army commander Sarath Fonseka 's comments to the National Post Canadian news reporter Stewart Bell on September 25, 2008 issue where he said,

"I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese but there are minority communities and we treat them like our people,"

"They can live in this country with us. But they must not try to, under the pretext of being a minority, demand undue things."

Without exception all Members of Parliament from all three main political parties in a show of solidarity and concern spoke in support of Tamils and the general suffering of the Tamils, particularly in Vanni, North of Sri Lanka. They also showed no remorse in condemning the Government of Sri Lanka for its military action against the Tamil Nation to fundamentally a political problem and its persistent human rights violations.

The UK Government Junior Minister responsible for the Department for International Development (DFID) Rt. Hon Michael Foster MP announced that an additional aid of £2.5 million to support the efforts of the ICRC and other UN agencies and NGOs. This confirms the statement made by his predecessor Rt. Hon Shahid Malik MP to the British Tamils Forum at a meeting held at the end of September that the UK Government will be sending aid via international aid agencies and local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and NOT through the Government of Sri Lanka.

MPs who spoke at the Westminster parliament debate said that everyone is very concerned about the escalating violence in Sri Lanka, the large scale internal displacement that this is causing and the recent expulsion of International Non Governmental Organisations and Aid workers from the Vanni area.

They also pointed out that as a responsible democratically elected government, it should take full responsibility of protecting the internally displaced people from being targeted by indiscriminate aerial, land and sea bombardments.