British MP urges boycott of Sri Lanka goods
[TamilNet, Friday, 02 October 2009, 12:14 GMT]
Siobhain McDonagh MP, Mictham & Morden, UK, during the Labor Party conference held Thursday appealed to the delegates, and to the millions of live TV viewers, to shoulder their own commitment on the Sri Lanka issue, urging that a boycott of goods and avoiding holidays in the unsavory state would ensure their money would not “prop up that government.” During the event, the sitting government party passed a resolution condemning the treatment of Tamils in the island by that government.
“Next time you want to buy underwear from Marks & Spencer, you want to buy a t-shirt from Next, you want to go on a holiday of a lifetime in a beautiful island off the coast off India - Do you really want to spend your money on a government that chooses to lock 300,000 people up behind barbed-wire.
A country that is the most dangerous in the world to be a journalist.
A country where we can see on Channel 4 News, young men, naked and bound shot at close range.
Is that what we want for our money, for our democracy?
I ask you to not only support the emergency resolution on Sri Lanka but to use your money and not prop up that government," the MP said.
The GMB Union which proposed the emergency resolution claims to have over five million members in the UK. Paul Kenny, their General Secretary, in a heartfelt appeal, called upon the conference to support the emergency humanitarian resolution, demanding that “Sri Lanka does what human dignity requires - Let these people free!”
Mr Kenny expressed to the conference delegates the media blackout concealing the true extent on the ground situation in Sri Lanka. His statement was a damning indictment of what the British Tamils have been shouting for many years and recently from outside the British Parliament, that Sri Lanka is keeping foreign journalists away with intent to cover up its abuses.
“This conference has no shame in calling for a humanitarian solution in Sri Lanka. It should have no hesitation in calling for the government in Sri Lanka to keep its promises. It should have no hesitation in saying to the authorities there, ‘Open your doors, let in the journalists, what do you have to hide?’”, he exclaimed.
Mr David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, who was listening from the stage was one of the first delegates to put his hands together in support of that challenge.
"The starting point of our politics is that all men and women are created equal. So I am proud that we have helped Pakistan and Bangladesh elect civilian governments, return to democracy, one person one vote, and I pledge that we will not rest until we have done the same for Zimbabwe... and Burma as well," Mr. Miliband said.
"And in those democracies, like Sri Lanka, where civil war claimed lives and liberty, we say governments have a duty to uphold the civil, social and political rights of all their citizens, whatever their ethnicity or religion."
Commenting on the move, Mr. Sen Kandiah, a senior member of the British Tamils Forum and the Chairman of Tamils for Labour, said: "Finally, the tied is turning. It seems that the international community is beginning to recognise the injustice that has been done to an entire community for so long. The Tamil people of Sri Lanka have suffered 60 years of oppression under the Sinhalese majority. This cannot go on”.