A passionate group of Tamil youths recently attended a fundraising dinner organized by the British Labour Party’s election campaign. During the event, they seized the opportunity to engage with visiting Labour Party MPs and prominent political figures, voicing their demand for a British ban on Shavendra Silva, the Sri Lankan army commander accused of genocide. Their aim was to urge the attendees to take action with the British government in addressing this critical issue.
In April 2021, the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP), led by Yasmin Sooka, presented substantial evidence to the British Foreign Office, calling for a ban on Shavendra Silva. Silva had commanded the 58th Division during the final war in Sri Lanka, and this division was held responsible for the deaths of numerous innocent Tamil individuals.
Regrettably, no action has been taken by the British Foreign Office thus far. Consequently, the youth group and survivors of torture have been actively conducting a series of meetings with British Members of Parliament. They have garnered support from lawyers, human rights activists, and second-generation Tamil individuals, all of whom are diligently exerting pressure on the parliamentarians.
During the fundraising dinner held on July 4, a group of impassioned youths engaged with prominent figures of the British Labour Party, utilizing the occasion as a platform to campaign against Shavendra Silva. The Shadow Minister of External Affairs, Hon. David Lammy, addressed this matter in his speech, expressing the Labour Party’s awareness of the challenges faced by the Tamil Sri Lankan people. He further assured the audience that, if elected as Foreign Secretary in the upcoming election, the Labour Party would instil confidence in the community and safeguard their welfare.
The campaign to ban Shavendra Silva also received support from notable individuals such as Rose Carrot, leader of Merton Council, Mike Brunt, Mayor of Collierswood, Merton Councillor Carolyn Cooper, and Stephen Alambridis, another Merton councillor, who held a banner proclaiming “Ban Shavendra Silva.”
It is worth highlighting that the head of Tamils for the Labour Party, Mr. Sen Kandiah, led this campaign, with activists Mohamed Nifras Mohamed Nawfer, Vijay Vivegananthan , Nishanthan Nithiyananthan, Amalraj Jayakumar, Thevarasa Kajan, Kanagasabapathy Karthigesan, Manoj Prasanna, Vaheesan Visagaratnam, Ronistan Antonys Uthajakumaran, Rajasekar Ramakrishnan, Saseeskanna Nadarajah, Senavirathna Bandara, Nagarathnam Sandilyan and Vithura Vivegananthan playing instrumental roles. This accomplishment marks another significant victory for the determined youth leading the charge.