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Sri Lanka

Volume 501: debated on Tuesday 1 December 2009

This is a petition from more than 300 of my constituents from Beaconsfield and other locations, who declare their concern at the plight of more than 280,000 civilians displaced by the fighting in Sri Lanka.

The petition states:

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges HM Government to press for the implementation of the following: the United Nations, International Red Cross and voluntary agencies must be given full access to care for and protect the civilians in the camps, and then help them to return to their traditional homeland in the north and east; a list of all those still alive and in custody should be published, so that families can stop searching for loved ones who are dead; any who continue to be detained as alleged LTTE combatants must be treated in accordance with the provisions of international law, and urgently given access to legal representation; accountability processes must be established to ensure that international aid is not diverted to purposes other than those for which it was given; UN monitors must be given free access to all parts of the island; there must be a full UN investigation into war crimes committed during the war.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[ The Petition of constituents of Hon. Dominic Grieve MP for Beaconsfield and others,

Declares that following the end of hostilities in Sri Lanka as announced by President Mahinda Rajapakse, more than 280,000 Tamil civilians, including at least 50,000 children, remain detained indefinitely in cramped, squalid military run camps in the north of the island in breach of international law; further declares that there is a severe lack of medical and humanitarian aid for the needs of these wounded malnourished and severely traumatised war victims; further declares that with the current flooding, spread of diseases and the onset of the Monsoon rains the conditions in these already dilapidated camps will worsen drastically resulting in further deaths; further declares that the detained Tamil people are being held against their will, without any freedom of movement, with the intention of making these camps permanent; further declares that the traditional lands of these people are being colonised and illegally occupied by the armed forces; further declares that it is suspected that thousands of Tamils who are not accounted for are being detained incommunicado by the Sri Lankan armed forces; further declares that the perpetrators of war crimes and breaches of international law in Sri Lanka remain free from prosecution.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges HM Government to press for the implementation of the following: the United Nations, International Red Cross and voluntary agencies must be given full access to care for and protect the civilians in the camps, and then help them to return to their traditional homeland in the north and east; a list of all those still alive and in custody should be published, so that families can stop searching for loved ones who are dead; any who continue to be detained as alleged LTTE combatants must be treated in accordance with the provisions of international law, and urgently given access to legal representation; accountability processes must be established to ensure that international aid is not diverted to purposes other than those for which it was given; UN monitors must be given free access to all parts of the island; there must be a full UN investigation into war crimes committed during the war.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.]

[P000442]