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Petitions

Volume 596: debated on Wednesday 3 June 2015

Petition

Wednesday 3 June 2015

OBSERVATIONS

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Sri Lanka & UN Security Council decision

To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

The Humble Petition of residents in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire and the surrounding areas,

Sheweth,

That the Government of Sri Lanka has officially proscribed 16 Tamil Diaspora Organisations and 424 Tamil individuals, many of whom are in the UK, through a government notification as a retaliatory response to ‘Resolution A/HRC/25/L.1/Rev.1: Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ which was passed by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2014; further that Sri Lanka has rejected the UN resolution outright and declared that it will not co-operate with the UN investigation and proscribed diaspora Tamil Community organisations that are championing the cause of justice for Tamil people; and further that the Petitioners believe that by doing so Sri Lanka is abusing UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR 1373) and criminalising the Tamil Community in the UK and around the world.

Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House urges the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to take Sri Lanka’s decision to reject the UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR 1373) up in the international forum to remove this unlawful ban on the Tamil Community.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c. —[Official Report, 21 January 2015; Vol. 591, c. 4P.]

[P001428]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs:

We share the petitioners’ concerns about this proscription. There are no formal mechanisms within the UN that we can use to make complaints about another state’s domestic proscription under UNSCR 1373. However, we have raised our concerns––and pressed for a review of the decision––both with the former Government of Sri Lanka, including the Foreign Minister, and with President Sirisena’s new Government. The Government have also made their position on the proscription clear on the record in the House of Commons.

The UN CTED (Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate) conducted a routine visit to Sri Lanka on 27-31 October 2014 to assess Sri Lankan implementation of UN CT resolutions 1373 and 1624. The UN CTED team briefed several heads of mission in Colombo at the end of their visit and said that they had discussed concerns about the listing of organisations and individuals by Sri Lanka under SC resolution 1373. The High Commissioner was able to raise our concerns over the lack of evidence provided by the Sri Lankan authorities with the UN CTED team at this time.