Another British Member of Parliament, Hon. Virendra Sharma MP, has joined a number of British MPs, human rights organizations and Tamil activists who have been calling on the British Foreign Secretary to impose Sanctions against the Sri Lankan War Criminal including , the notorious General Shavendra Silva, the current chief of Sri Lankan Army.
Mr Sharma released a video publicly calling upon the British government to impose sanctions against Shavendra Silva and others accused of war crimes in Sri Lanka. This video was released by him following a productive meeting with him which was chaired by Mr Geeth Kulasegaram who briefed him on this campaign. Miss Ambikai K Selvakumar, Director of the ICPPG and Mr Sen Kandiah, Chair of the Tamils for Labour also spoke and enlightened him with information on the on-going violations in Sri Lanka and insisted on the need to call the UK to take meaningful action. A number of torture survivors living in Mr Sharma’s constituency also attended and shared their terrific experiences with him in order to canvass his support. As a result of the meeting, Mr Sharma promised to extend his full support and wrote to the FCDO. In addition, he has also released this video confirming his support and publicly demanding the UK for immediate action.
In January 2019, the ITJP submitted a dossier containing evidence of Shavendra Silva’s involvement in the war crimes during the war that ended in 2009. Subsequently, In May 2021, the ICPPG also made submissions on the basis of testimonies from the most recent victims of the on-going systematic torture and sexual violence currently being committed by the Sri Lankan armed forces under the command of Shavendra Silva. Since then, the Tamil Youth in the UK launched an online signature campaign and began to organise meetings with British MPs to canvass their support. On 18th May 2021 an Early Day Motion (EDM 64) was also tabled by an MP of the Scottish National Party. International organizations including REDRESS and Sri Lanka Campaign also joined the drive.
In his video, Mr Sharma stated “I am calling on the British government to impose sanction on General Shavendra Silva, a senior commander of Sri Lankan Army. He’s accused of responsibilities for War crimes during the last war in Sri Lanka and torture in ongoing repression in Sri Lanka”.
He further insisted that the UK government should follow the lead of the United States which has already placed sanctions and travel ban on Silva and his family.
He went on to strongly suggest that “the British government should take necessary action to prove its commitment to deliver justice to the victims of genocide in Sri Lanka”.
Mr Sharma concluded by stating “Tamils in Ealing, Southall, across UK and around the world deserve Justice”.
As a result of the on-going tireless campaign being taken forward by the Tamil Youth and victims in the UK, the support from the British Parliamentarians are on the raise and the pressure on the FCDO is mounting. 32 cross-party MPs also already signed the EDM and an wide range of senior politicians including the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party Rt. Hon. Sir Ed Davey, Labour Shadow Minister for Asia Hon. Stephen Kinnock, Chair of the APPG for Tamils Hon. Elliot Colburn, Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers, Rt. Hon. Stephen Timms, Sam Tarry, Bob Blackman, Siobhan McDonagh and several others have written to the FCDO and released videos calling for sanctions. The Tamil Youth and the victims are determined to continue until they see real action by the FCDO.