A group of passionate Tamil youths recently rallied support from members of parliament attending a dinner event organized for the election campaign of the British Labour Party. The group took this opportunity to elucidate their demand for the British government to impose a ban on Shavendra Silva, the Sri Lankan army commander accused of perpetrating genocide, and urged the attending Labour Party MPs and prominent political figures to take action.

In April 2021, the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP), led by Yasmin Sooka, presented substantial evidence to the British Foreign Office in support of banning Shavendra Silva. Silva, who directly commanded the 58th Brigade during the final war in Sri Lanka, has been implicated in the deaths of thousands of innocent Tamil individuals. Regrettably, no action has been taken thus far by the British Foreign Office in response to these allegations. Consequently, the group of Tamil youths, along with survivors of torture, have initiated a series of meetings with British Members of Parliament, exerting pressure on them to address this critical issue. Notably, lawyers, human rights activists, and second-generation Tamil community members have also joined forces to amplify the campaign.

Taking advantage of the fundraising dinner for the British Labour Party’s election campaign on the 8th, the aforementioned group of youths utilized the occasion as a platform to raise awareness and garner support against Shavendra Silva. The Shadow Minister of External Affairs, the Honorable David Lammy, and the Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, the Honorable Steve Reed, engaged in discussions regarding this matter.

Within the realm of British politics, the activists also met with Ben Taylor, a Labour Party candidate running for South Croydon in the upcoming election. During the meeting, they advocated for the banning of Shavendra Silva, and Taylor expressed his support for their campaign. He eagerly expressed his willingness to collaborate with the group in the future, and in a symbolic gesture, posed for photographs while holding a green banner designed by the ITJP that read “Sanction Shavendra Silva.”

Leading the campaign under the banner of “Tamils for the Labour Party,” Mr. Sen Kandiah headed a dedicated team comprising activists Vijay Vivekanandhan, Dilukshan Manorajan, Aravinthan Vasanthi, Sinthuya Jayan, Anusan Balasubramaniam, Vageesan Visakaretnam, Kanakasabapathy Karthikesan, Vithura Vivekananthan, Muhammad Chapik Afrin Muhammad, and Chesan Fernando Varnakulasuriya. Their efforts to address the issue at hand have been commendable and noteworthy.

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