Business Questions – Sri Lanka

Posted on June 14th, 2011 in Parliamentary News

Keith Vaz (Leicester, East) (Lab): Further to the reply that my right hon. and learned Friend the Leader of the House gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden (Siobhain McDonagh), of course we appreciate greatly what the Government, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have done, and the statements by the Indian Government and Hillary Clinton yesterday. However, it remains the case that thousands of innocent Tamil people are being killed in Sri Lanka. A young man has been on hunger strike in Parliament square for three weeks. The situation is not getting better; it is getting worse.

The UK is a permanent member of the Security Council. Could we please take a resolution to the Security Council as quickly as possible? May we have a statement from the Foreign Secretary on the current situation before the debate on Wednesday? The point of being on the Security Council is that we can have an influence. This is our opportunity to influence what is happening in Sri Lanka.

Ms Harman: The British Government are working to influence the action taken throughout the world to mobilise the concern and press for a peaceful outcome for civilians. As I said, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun has been to New York to discuss with Sri Lankan and UN officials how the matter should be taken through the UN, and a Department for International Development Minister is going to Sri Lanka later this week, so action is being taken. We want to reassure the Tamil community here, who play a big part in this country and who are very concerned about what is happening to their friends and relatives back home.