On Saturday, I joined the local Tamil community for their annual Tamil School concert. It was one of the most joyful events I have attended. The children were hard working, talented and happy, the parents were proud and the teachers dedicated. It was a treat.
We are more usually in touch about the aftermath of the conflict in Sri Lanka and the need for an independent international investigation. Parliament has debated Sri Lanka recently and I was successful in the last ballot for a related Foreign Office oral question.
Parliamentary time didn’t allow for it to be asked unfortunately. However, the Department answered in writing. I asked about militarisation in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province. They answered:
We remain concerned about the role of the military in the north and east of Sri Lanka. We support the recommendation of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) that the Northern Province should return to civilian administration and the presence of the military should progressively recede.
I submitted my supplementary question in writing. Disappointingly, it received much the same answer.
In these matters, passions run understandably high on all sides. It’s difficult to get to the ultimate facts but the evidence is certainly that Sri Lanka has seen terrible crimes. As the people of Sri Lanka make progress towards reconciliation, it’s vital that their government knows the world is watching. Tamils in Wycombe certainly are, just as they get on with their gentle, joyful and productive lives.