Former foreign secretary David Millband and Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, traveled to Sri Lanka to for themselves the situation at the end of the brutal 26-year civil war
Now he is reflecting on the journey and calling the British Government to stand up for human rights in Sri Lanka.
We met the president and his ministers in Colombo, and then travelled to refugee camps further north. I will never forget what I saw, and in particular the pleading of Tamil women carrying slips of paper with the names of their husbands and sons who had been taken away for “screening”.
The last phase of the government offensive involved squeezing anything up to 330,000 people into the Vanni region, south of the Jaffna peninsula. A report in March 2011 by a special UN panel laid bare the scale of human suffering. Tens of thousands had been killed by government shelling, which had targeted no-fire zones, UN food distribution lines and hospitals. The report also detailed appalling behaviour by the LTTE, the “Tamil Tigers”, alleging that civilians were prevented from escaping and used as hostages. The UN report found credible allegations of serious violations of international law by the Sri Lanka government and the LTTE, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.