News & Updates
Both news media and general public can find important information
about updates, alerts and events that impact human rights in Sri Lanka

Cameron was using SL visit to win UK Tamil concerns-MR

2013 Nov 18

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ‘suggested’ that visiting UK Prime Minister David Cameron was using the visit to win favour with the Tamil community in the UK, the UK’s The Guardian reported.

Downing Street sources conceded that Cameron made little headway with Rajapaksa during an hour-long meeting on Friday evening.

They described the exchange as robust and animated, with Rajapaksa acknowledging problems in his country but arguing that they needed time to be sorted out.

During the encounter, Cameron quoted Winston Churchill, urging the president to show "in victory, magnanimity", and compared the path of reconciliation to the Northern Ireland peace process.

He brought up attacks on Christians and Muslims, the murder of British national Khuram Shaikh, the killing of journalists and seizure of land.

Cameron also mentioned a Channel 4 documentary about atrocities allegedly committed by state forces in the last months of the war, containing images verified by the UN.

However, the president batted away the allegations and suggested that Cameron was using the visit to win favour with the Tamil community in the UK.

Earlier, a Sri Lankan media minister had warned the prime minister he could not treat the country like a colony.

Following his visit to Jaffna on Friday evening, Cameron told television reporters he believed the visit had been worthwhile to highlight the plight of many people suffering in Jaffna.

"The pictures of journalists, shot and killed, on the walls, and hearing stories of journalists who have disappeared long after the war has ended – that will stay with me," he said.

"And the image, in this camp, of talking to a young woman who came here when she was very young – a child in this camp – and wants nothing more than to go to her own home."

Cameron also argued that the Commonwealth had helped bring about elections in the provinces and suggested that he would raise concerns about the situation in Sri Lanka in international forums including the G20 and EU.

This could include pushing for an international investigation into human rights abuses, amid few signs the government will agree to hold an inquiry of its own that would satisfy observers as credible.

He added: "These issues aren't settled in one day or one visit."

Search News & Updates
Keyword
Date
Date