Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 October 2013

Sri Lanka - 'No to Chogm' campaign

Workers' unity to fight the oppression of Tamil people

Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Tamil Solidarity national chair

Among the Commonwealth's stated 'core beliefs' are democracy and human rights. But democratic and human rights are being trampled on by the dictatorial regime in Sri Lanka, which is to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in November and then head the 53-state organisation.

Canada has withdrawn from Chogm citing "reported disappearances, and allegations of extra judicial killings".

In the aftermath of the genocidal slaughter of up to 100,000 Tamil people in the three-decade civil war, the Sri Lankan regime stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Even the Commonwealth Lawyers Association has passed a resolution calling for Sri Lanka's suspension from the Commonwealth.

Following her visit, UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay said Sri Lanka is showing signs of heading in an increasingly authoritarian direction. The UN, Channel 4 and human rights groups have produced stacks of evidence revealing "torture and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as well as intimidation of and reprisals against human rights defenders, members of civil society and journalists, threats to judicial independence and the rule of law, and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief."

Tamil Solidarity is opposed to Chogm in Sri Lanka. We call for no British government participation but warn that David Cameron and the Con-Dems are determined to join the celebrations. Channel 4 news reporter Jon Snow recently reported that Foreign Secretary William Hague co-hosted a drinks party with the Sri Lankan government at the UN.

When a branch of the Unison trade union sent the Tamil Solidarity model letter to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in July demanding non-participation at Chogm, the response was revealing. The FCO said it will "urge" the Sri Lankan government to implement the recommendation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and to respect human rights.

The LLRC, which was actually commissioned by the Sri Lankan regime, makes the mildest and frailest recommendations and yet the government refuses to implement it.

But there are signs of resistance. Tamils in Sri Lanka sent a strong message of defiance in the recent Northern Province elections.

On a 78% turnout they rejected the government parties. "This was despite", as the Economist described, "the efforts of sullen men from military intelligence near polling stations telling voters to back Mr Rajapaksa's ruling party." Building a mass party that will struggle for Tamils' rights remains an urgent task.

On 9 October Tamil Solidarity called a protest at Downing Street. As well as chanting angry slogans, speakers addressed the crowd, providing an opportunity to discuss and debate the strategy for this campaign.

Mayilon, a young worker on a zero-hour contract, explained why Tamil Solidarity works with the trade unions - to fight the exploitation we face here as workers and to link our struggles into a powerful movement to fight for the rights of all workers and oppressed people.

A statement from a young woman who recently visited Sri Lanka warned of the way, in a situation of fear and poverty, frustration was finding very negative outlets. She reported "increased domestic violence and sexual abuse" and concluded that "it's very important for us to raise our voice on behalf of all those that have had their voice stolen".

Ben Robinson brought support and solidarity from the Socialist Party in the fight for the right to self-determination of Tamil people. He pointed out that Cameron has his eye on business deals with the Sri Lankan regime. They work together, so workers and oppressed people must work together.

Young people were to the fore, on the megaphone, giving speeches and organising the action. The next step is the protest on 15 November at Downing Street which will coincide with the Chogm opening ceremony.

To find out more or request speakers or leaflets:

Special offer for readers of the Socialist

History of Resistance by TU Senan
The history of struggle in Sri Lanka, reprint. Just 7, normally 10
Available from Socialist Books, PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD.

020 8988 8789

Find out more about Tamil Solidarity:

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 16 October 2013:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Tories' rags and riches Britain; Join the socialist fightback!

Teachers, firefighters, workers fighting back: Unite the strikes!

TUSC: 2014 local elections campaign launched

Immigration Bill: Whipping up racism to cut our services

Council tax benefit cuts hit hard

SSE: So Sodding Expensive!

Fight Tory plans to scrap lifeline for young

Jobcentre staff struggling to cope

'Help to Buy' no solution to housing crisis

Them & Us


Robinson drops EDL but not his bigotry

Trade union-led anti-racist demo in Liverpool

Bradford anti-EDL protest

Education feature

Why are our schools in crisis?

International socialist news and analysis

Workers and youth re-assert their political voice in South Africa

Sri Lanka - 'No to Chogm' campaign

Refugees perish in Mediterranean "cemetery"

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Join the party for the millions - not the millionaires

Socialism 2013 appeal

Save Kent's children's centres

Socialist Party workplace news

Probation officers to take on 'failing Grayling'

Time for national action on education

Fight the Royal Mail sell-off

Blacklisting victory - now build union strength

Workplace news In Brief


Home   |   The Socialist 16 October 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:

Sri Lanka:

triangleFacebook sides with state repression - reinstate the Tamil Solidarity page

triangleTamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

triangleTamil Solidarity AGM & public meeting

triangleInterview: Refugee Rights Campaign

triangleThe Socialist Inbox


triangleTamil youth march for justice

triangleProtesters denounce oppressive Sri Lankan regime

triangleTamil Solidarity Day

Human rights:

triangleWorkers' protests against state repression in China and Hong Kong

triangleThe life and legacy of Martin Luther King

triangleRussia: Ali Feruz, journalist and human rights activist, freed from jail





Catalonia: 1m marchers demand self-determination



No to the bombing of Syria!



Poland: huge demos against right wing government's abortion ban


Kshama Sawant

Defend socialist councillor Kshama Sawant against lawsuits



Ireland: March against misogyny and injustice


Hong Kong

Workers' protests against state repression in China and Hong Kong



No to bombing Syria



Gaza - protest is not terrorism!



Catalonia: new Francoist coup - general strike now!



USA: Huge 'march for our lives' protests



France: Pressure mounts on Macron government



Russia's predictable presidential election



Brazil: Psol councillor Marielle Franco murdered



US school shootings: student walkouts challenge establishment



West Virginia teachers' strike victory

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018