News / Europe

Britain Threatens Sri Lanka With Inquiry Over Stalled Reconciliation

Britain's PM David Cameron (2nd L), Chief Minister of Northern province, C. V. Vigneswaran (2nd R) and Sri Lankan Tamil National Alliance (TNA) party leader R. Sampanthan (L) look out from the public library in Jaffna, north of Colombo, Nov. 15, 2013.
Britain's PM David Cameron (2nd L), Chief Minister of Northern province, C. V. Vigneswaran (2nd R) and Sri Lankan Tamil National Alliance (TNA) party leader R. Sampanthan (L) look out from the public library in Jaffna, north of Colombo, Nov. 15, 2013.
VOA News
British Prime Minister David Cameron has cautioned Sri Lanka to speed up its human rights and reconciliation process from civil war or face an international investigation.

Speaking Saturday at a British Commonwealth summit in Colombo, Cameron told reporters that the issue of war crimes and human rights abuses during and after Sri Lanka's 27-year conflict are not going away. He said if Sri Lanka does not address international concerns over its human rights record, his country will push for a U.N.-led investigation.

He also said he had frank discussions with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse after the prime minister returned from a fact-finding trip to the war-torn Jaffna region Friday and sensed the Colombo government does want to make progress on the issue.

However, Water Minister Nimal Siripalade Silva rejected Cameron's remarks, saying Sri Lanka would resist an international probe.

During Cameron's trip to northern Sri Lanka Friday, his motorcade was mobbed by protesters seeking answers about the country's civil war.

Several hundred people gathered on the streets of Jaffna, saying they wanted help from the international community to find missing loved ones from the war.

Some of the protesters scuffled with police and one group blocked a media vehicle. The protesters held up pictures of lost loved ones and some shouted, "We want to meet Cameron."

Cameron said on Twitter that the stories he heard in the north were "often harrowing."

Northern Sri Lanka suffered the worst of the country's decades-long civil war between soldiers and ethnic Tamil rebels.

The leaders of India and Canada boycotted this year's Commonwealth gathering amid controversy surrounding allegations the Sri Lankan army committed war crimes during the final months of the civil war.

At the opening of the conference Friday, Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa urged his fellow leaders not to pass judgment on his country's past.  

The Sri Lankan government is under international scrutiny for the conduct of the final stages of its military campaign against Tamil Tiger rebels, when tens of thousands of civilians died. The government has staunchly denied committing war crimes.

The civil conflict ended in 2009 after nearly three decades of fighting.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost

Globally some seven million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in region

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: tehan perera from: sri lankan
November 20, 2013 9:37 AM
well what about all the people killed by the tigers. it was not only sinhalese people that were killed lot of tamils were killed by them too when they were doing all of these cruel killings there wasn't any international learder or assosiation to stop them the funniest thing is after the end of the war all these people are trying to find the faults nobody reminds about the kids the women and the cleargy killed by the tamil tigers . it would be great if you people can help a country stand up not to break up

by: Michael Jones
November 17, 2013 11:18 PM
I would definitely recommend a "study tour" in Zimbabwe for you David, alternatively you could undertake some serious research into the situation and acquaint yourself with the extreme hardships facing the ordinary people and what they have gone through and are still experiencing and what the future holds?

by: David Hill
November 17, 2013 12:38 PM
There is no excuse for mass killings or genocide by politically controlled nations. That goes without saying but all countries have at some time in their history committed genocide. Indeed from the beginning of time humans have killed each other usually for economic gain or survival. We are therefore no different in many ways to the animal kingdom but clearly where we should be.

A great deal would change if nations had ‘real’ empathy with each other, but where political and corporate corruption change this mind-set to one of personal economic gain. Once this has happened (and it has to all nations), if people get in the way it appears that they are exterminated.

Indeed when we look at the world’s history of genocide we see that western nations are as bad as all others. For one, the USA has the greatest crime against humanity when the Europeans took over North America. According to historical data it all stated with Columbus and the Pilgrim Fathers, and where the Indian tribes apparently greeted their new so-called friends from another world with open arms and heartfelt greetings. Little did they know that these new comers would eventually kill them. Therefore who were the savages, the Indians or the Europeans?

But what happened in the USA is a little known story as the Europeans took over this northern continent. Indeed because the new European's economic interests predominated over everything, there is documented evidence that they exterminated between 50 million and 100 million native Indians (not necessarily savages either but peace abiding tribes and where the Indian wars only emerged because of the excesses of the new colonizing Europeans as they went further into the interior). To put these figures into perspective Hitler only murdered 11 million in the Holocaust (5 million of them of Jewish descendancy). Therefore the Europeans taking over what we now know as the USA, terminated the lives some 5 to 9 times that of the Nazi persecution. A similar thing happened in South and central America with the Spanish conquest in their quest for riches and global power.
Therefore although western leaders have definitely to take to task the Sri Lankan regime and stop these crimes against humanity, our own history is steeped in genocide also (including slavery on a global scale). Regrettable but definitely historical fact.

Therefore my summation of the problem of genocide is that at its roots there is economic and financial exploitation for the very few, politicians included – very much like today and where things have not really changed that much. Therefore not until a new breed of politicians and corporate leaders have persuasions that put people's lives above economic and political gains, genocide will unfortunately continue infinitum I am afraid to say. That is why people like Ed Snowdon have to show their face and expose as much behind closed doors decisions that they can, both in government and big business (as the two are inextricably bound together). Indeed the new EU-USA trade pact again favours corporations and gives big corporations power over sovereign states where if they do not achieve a certain profit margin, they can sue our national

governments for the difference and get it. How mad is this, but it does show the immense power of corporates over national governments. Indeed according to Forbes a mere 2,000 corporates last year controlled 51% of all the global economic turnover in nominal terms or 51% of the total economic cake. The EU-USA agreement will give them even more power to extort more money out of the people of Europe and the US. Therefore genocide has its fundamental base in conomic greed and the reason why it will never cease.
Dr David Hill
World Innovation Foundation
In Response

by: DORAI RAJ L from: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
November 18, 2013 10:37 AM
Dear Sirs,

The entire world knows what happened in Sri Lanka during its war against the tamils(of course it was a hidden war against Tamils). And this is not a time to make research how the humans worldwide practiced in past. Because we have been on the way of developing ourselves by updating with humanitarian movements, as man was in those days more like an animal. So speaking of past or history may not be useful here. In past, no human was human.

Almost all were more or less behaving as if they were animals by doing so many worst activities for example selling human slaves etc. But, now human being is maturing and doing the same as in past is to be stopped. What we have to do is to take account of present days violation of human rights and the violations of past for up to 10 - 15 years. Thus Cameron is correct and he should go a long way on taking actions against Sri Lanka. Please reply if you have different views and let us do something for the betterment of Human Life on earth.

by: Michael Jones
November 17, 2013 12:05 AM
If only the British Government was consistent? Zimbabwe so much tragedy has happened in that Country, it is unbelievable How people suffered? and were just left. A tragedy of immense proportions.
In Response

by: sathyam
November 19, 2013 12:00 AM
You guys are propaganda wing of British looters, Down with British supremacy and white supremacy .Sell that to Indians and tamils. Nobody else buy such trash. your moderators don't ever publish views of average brown man. You think and act as if you own this world. You are impotent to face facts. Keep trying to divide and conquer.
In Response

by: sthya deva from: Jaffana
November 18, 2013 11:55 PM
United kingdom is a kingdom still living on looting others . Srilankans were under terrorist threat for 30 years. The browns who died due to tamil tiger terrorism is absolutely neglected by Brits. When ten people die in London they bomb the hell out of their enemies conquer and go to places like Afganistan and destroy all there is. When thousands of Srilankans died queens Prime ministers didn't care. London provide safe heavens to terrorists .

Now BBC calls tamil tigers freedom fighters , IRA is definitely a freedom fighter group. David boy needs to watch = In the name of the Father.
Abbott of Australia knows how the Brits ill treated his ancestors. Commonwealth is a nonsense organization. Racism should end. Human life black brown yellow white is equally valuable. British governments always live on dividing peoples. BBC has that mission. Down with British ,white supremacy.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs