At the invitation of the Tamil Friends of the Liberal Democrats my wife and I attended Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day in Trafalgar Square on 18 May.
It was an impressive and moving occasion, commemorating the 14thanniversary of a massacre by the Sri Lankan Army of tens of thousands of Tamils who gathered in Mullivaikkal, a Sri Lankan village, during the final stages of the Sri Lankan Civil War. The feeling amongst the Tamils attending was palpable.
I have never visited Sri Lanka, but it is said to be beautiful with wonderful people. It reminds me of Northern Ireland, another place where two communities must share the same space in cooperation and respect.
The demands made at the Mullivaikkal commemoration were eminently reasonable.
The massacre must be properly investigated and those responsible held to account – it has been declared a genocide by the Canadian Government.
Political arrangements must also be put in place to enable the two communities to live together in harmony. Easily said, but it will take time. The demand for proper international investigation of what happened at Mullivaikkal was supported by Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat representatives.
I am pleased to say that the LibDem leader, Ed Davey, was there and spoke strongly in support of an international investigation.
Ed also mentioned that the Rajapaksa regime was in power at the time of Mullivaikkal and has proved to be corrupt, violent and incompetent, with the result that many Sri Lankans – Tamil and Sinhalese - are now suffering deprivation. The Rajapaksa regime remains in power, as it has done for the past two decades, increasingly treating Sri Lanka as a family personal fiefdom.
Sri Lanka has become militarised in parts and its people are suffering. Sri Lanka deserves much better.
Harrow Lib Dems strongly support Ed Davey, our party leader. Our hearts go out to the relatives of the victims of Mullivaikkal and we hope that all Sri Lankans will enjoy a more prosperous and harmonious future and see justice done.