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Tamil activist visits KU to discuss Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields

By River Reporter Mar 23, 2012

KU students attended a lecture on the current Sri Lankan political climate last night, as a part of the Human Rights Festival

George Wright

KU students attended a screening of Channel 4’s documentary ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ last night in the first of a number of discussions as part of the Human Rights Festival. 

The screening was hosted by KU principal lecturer in international politics and human rights Dr. Andy Higginbottom, and was followed by a talk from Sasithar Maheswaran, a member of Tamil Coordinating Committee UK, an organization aimed at supporting the Tamil ethnic group.

Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields is a documentary that provides damning evidence of war crimes committed against the Tamils by the Sri Lankan Government during the final days of the civil war in 2009.

Speaking after the screening, Mr Maheswaran spoke of the importance of mobilizing the general public in campaigning against the genocide committed by Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime.

“We need to get civil society on board, focussing on getting people who care about humans to act. We are creating awareness amongst ordinary people who care about human rights,” he said.

“The majority of people do want to stop genocide; the problem is that most politicians don’t.”

Dr. Higginbottom voiced criticism of the international community’s inaction and accused it of colluding in the atrocities.  

“The UN has become morally bankrupt, the big powers and non-aligned countries have all colluded in the genocide of the Tamils.

“Since 2009 Sri Lanka has killed between 40,000 and 150,000 Tamils. The latest Channel 4 film shows that the US and EU knew that this was happening, but did nothing to stop it.

“The US and the UK governments broke the possibility of a negotiated peace settlement. Tamils are now looking for a new way forward to mobilise support from the international community from the grass roots up,” he added.

The Human Rights Festival continues next week and features a talk from Dr Dan Plesch, author of America, Hitler and the UN.

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