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

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs