Tamil Solidarity began its activities in the constituency of Tory Secretary for Defence Liam Fox. On Monday 09/08/2011 Tamil Solidarity members distributed leaflets to 2,500 homes in Fox’s North Somerset constituency. The leaflet highlighted the unacceptable support given to Sri Lankan president Rajapaksa and urged people to call their MP to account. Tamil Solidarity members will carry on this activity and the members involved in this particular campaign stated that they will take up this issue during the next election as well.
Below is the full text of the leaflet
Liam Fox, local Tory MP and secretary of state for defence, has just returned fromSri Lanka.
His trip included meetings with prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and other top-level representatives of the regime at the centre of war crime allegations following the end in 2009 of the 30-year conflict against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Channel 4’s recent documentary, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, and April’s report by a United Nations advisory panel both detailed shocking and brutal evidence of summary executions, rape and torture, alongside the bombardment of civilian field hospitals, refugee camps and food lines.
At the very least, 40,000 Tamil-speaking people were killed in the final weeks of the conflict – with Rajapaksa declaring victory on 18 May 2009.
Still today, nearly 150,000 people are unaccounted for, while up to 100,000 languish in detention camps. ‘Free-trade zones’ are being set up where workers’ rights are practically non-existent.
It is into this arena that Liam Fox has stepped. Long a personal friend of Rajapaksa, he visited Sri Lanka in November 2007, March 2008, and in March, August and November 2009 – all paid by the Sri Lankan Development Trust and dictatorial government. He held a private meeting with Rajapaksa as recently as December 2010 inLondon– at the same time as calls for a war crimes inquiry were increasing.
Nicknamed the ‘flying Fox’ for his many trips abroad (150,000 air miles in the first 14 months in the coalition government), he has just returned from a visit toSri Lankapaid for by British taxpayers.
This is at a time when he is backing the government’s massive spending cuts on public services, pensions, pay and conditions. It should also be remembered that he voted to increase tuition fees to £9,000.
Tamil Solidarity is distributing this leaflet to raise these issues in Liam Fox’s constituency. In our view, it is unacceptable that a regime facing such allegations, and which it has made no attempt to answer, should receive the effective backing of your MP. It is time they were both called to account.
Tamil Solidarity is an independent campaign set up in early 2009 in response to the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding inSri Lankaat the time.
We stand for the right of the Tamil-speaking minority inSri Lankato determine their own future. And we stand for the rights of workers and all oppressed people inSri Lanka, regardless of their ethnic and/or religious background.
Tamil Solidarity backs the call for an independent investigation into all the war crimes allegations.
Sri Lanka’s regime has used the so-called ‘war on terror’ to trample on civil rights. We therefore support those fighting for genuine democratic rights – freedom of the press, independent trade unions, political freedoms, etc.
One of ways we link these campaigns is through our work in the trade union movement. We encourage union branches to pass resolutions in support of the struggle of Tamils and other oppressed people, to affiliate to Tamil Solidarity and work with us.
By the same token, many Tamil-speaking people inBritainwork in the public sector under threat from the Con-Dem coalition’s cutbacks. Tamil Solidarity works alongside anti-cuts campaigners and in defence of local services.
The Con-Dem coalition and New Labour agree to huge cuts in the public sector – above all, affecting the most vulnerable in society. Liam Fox fully backed Tony Blair’s war inIraq. They effectively supported Mahinda Rajapaksa – with licences for £700,000-worth of military equipment 2009 and £1m in 2010.
Tamil Solidarity has no faith in these people. We believe that only the pressure of mass campaigns from below can achieve positive change.
If you would like to help with the work of Tamil Solidarity, want to make a donation, or would like more information:
tel: 07908 050 217