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Last updated: 14 May, 2009 - Published 17:32 GMT
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Britain warns Sri Lankan government
British Parliament
British Parliament

Britain has given a warning to the Sri Lankan government that it could face investigations into alleged war crimes as a result of violence against civilians caught up in the offensive against Tamil Tiger insurgents fighting for an independent homeland.

The warning came in a parliamentary debate in which there was near-unanimous support from all parties for Britain and the international community to take a much harder line against the Sri Lankan government, including a package of sanctions.

Bill Rammell

The British Foreign Office Minister, Bill Rammell, described as 'shocking and appalling' the United Nations estimate that some 6,500 civilians had been killed in the Sri Lankan conflict since January and said that democratic governments are held to a higher standards of responsibility than other organisations.

The killing had to stop, said Minister, Bill Rammell as Tamil protestors continued demonstrating outside the Houses of Parliament, politicians from all parties urged for harsher measures against Sri Lanka including suspension from the Commonwealth, the withdrawal of the diplomats, direct peace-keeping intervention, a boycott of Sri Lankan made goods and a travel ban on government members and their relatives.

There were also calls for Western democracies to put more pressure on China that one speaker said such a significant donor that it had the influence to tell Sri Lanka to call an immediate ceasefire.

Keith Vaz

Sympathy for the plight of Tamil civilians has increased after reports that some 50 civilians had died when a hospital was shelled earlier this week.

Senior labour MP Keith Vaz, said that the world must do more than issue statements “ it cannot stand by and find out that the Sri Lankan government has wiped out a whole people” he said.

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