GTF’s Conference in the UK House of Parliament


GTFTo mark the third anniversary of inauguration, Global Tamil Forum (GTF) is hosting a Conference to highlight the current ground realities in Sri Lanka. This will be presented by a cross-section of international speakers, who will share their perspectives on a global platform in the Houses of Parliament, Committee Room 14, on Wednesday 27 February 2013, from 10am-5pm.

Registration is compulsory as spaces are limited and an invitation will be required for you to gain entry. Please see below, or on the 2nd page of the attached invite, on how to register.

The first ever UK preview of ‘No Fire Zone’, the third film in the ‘Sri Lanka Killing Fields’ series, will be introduced and screened, on the day, by its Director Callum Macrae. It is a meticulous and chilling expose of some of the worst war crimes and crimes against humanity of recent times – told through the extraordinary personal stories of a small group of characters and also through some of the most dramatic and disturbing video evidence ever recorded. Footage which is nothing less than direct evidence of war crimes, summary execution, torture and sexual violence. The full documentary will be screened in Geneva during the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Session, and then following this will be presented in India and the United States. A documentary showing the situation of women in the Vanni, produced by M C M Iqbal, will also be previewed at the event.

Hon. R Sampanthan MP, leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), and Hon. MA Sumanthiran MP, the TNA National List MP and human rights lawyer, will be presenting ground realities, joined by a cross-section of non-Tamil speakers.

Hon. Cde Yasmin Sooka, one of the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka and Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa, will be sharing her experiences and expertise on the recommendations of the Panel’s 2011 report and the role that truth and accountability play in genuine reconciliation.

International Human Rights Law Professor William Schabas, who appeared on the first Killing Fields documentary, will speak on the case for war crimes investigation and prosecution. He will be joined by Prof. Joshua Castellino, Head of Law Department at Middlesex University, and Dr. Elvira Dominguez Redondo, whose expertise includes Human Rights, the United Nations, International Law and Responsibility to Protect (R2P). Other academics include Dr. Manivannan, an Associate Professor and Sri Lanka specialist at the University of Madras, in India.

Ms Yolanda Foster of Amnesty International will discuss their “UNHRC submission on Human Rights in Sri Lanka”, at this event and Human Rights Watch will be distributing a report on “Sexual Violence” being published by them on the same day. International Crisis Group will be advocating a new report “Sri Lanka’s Authoritarian Turn”, which will be published in the week prior to the Conference.

Mr Peter Kellner, Chair of the Royal Commonwealth Society, journalist and leading political commentator, will be presenting the Commonwealth perspective and Sri Lanka’s relevance ahead of CHOGM 2013.

Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Rt. Hon Nick Clegg MP, Senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and former Conservative Party Chairman, Rt. Hon Baroness Warsi, Leader of the Opposition and Labour Leader, Rt. Hon Ed Miliband MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change , Rt. Hon Ed Davey MP, and the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Rt. Hon Douglas Alexander MP, will speak at the event and will be joined by a number of cross party MPs.

Rt. Hon David Miliband MP, former British Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs, will be sharing his views via a video message. He visited Sri Lanka in the final months of the country’s armed conflict in 2009. Hon. Mr Erik Solheim, Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, former Minister in the Norwegian Cabinet and main negotiator in the peace process in Sri Lanka, will speak. In addition to our guest speakers, Foreign Ministry representativesfrom voting countries of the UNHRC will also be attending as observers.

Members of the International Relations team of the African National Congress (ANC), including Hon. Cde Sisa Njikelana MP, will attend.

Award-winning Indian journalists in the mainstream Indian TV Channels, who were the prime movers in the media campaign ahead of the UN resolution in March ‘12, will also be present.

We would greatly welcome your presence and participation at this notable event.

Registration is compulsory as spaces are limited and an invitation will be required for you to gain entry. We would be grateful if you could confirm your attendance as soon as possible by sending your name in full to by no later than Friday 22 February, so you can receive a personalised invitation before the day. We look forward to hearing from you and meeting you on the Wednesday 27 February.

Global Tamil Forum

The inaugural meeting of the GTF took place in the British Parliament, on 24th February 2010, with an array of parliamentarians, including the then British Foreign Secretary of State and Shadow Foreign Secretary, Rt. Hon David Miliband MP and Rt. Hon William Hague MP, joining other international delegates and civil society leaders in a momentous show of support for the Tamil people. Members from the delegation were also invited to meet with the then British Prime Minister, Rt. Hon Gordon Brown MP and the three-day conference was closed by Rev. Jesse Jackson, the veteran US human rights campaigner.

Since inauguration, GTF has been continuing its campaign to engage with the international community to highlight the continuing persecution of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka, to seek justice for the victims and work towards a durable political solution that will bring lasting peace between all communities on the island. This event aims to bring together political and non-political representatives and activists from the Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim communities in Sri Lanka and Diaspora, as well as senior delegates from the international community, Government Ministers, representatives from international human rights groups, journalists and academics to share their perspectives and keep Sri Lanka firmly on the global agenda.