Tamil Protests Across European Cities Ahead of Sri Lankan President's UN COP26 Visit

Tamil Protests Across European Cities Ahead of Sri Lankan President's UN COP26 Visit
‘Wanted for Genocide - President of Sri Lanka’: A projection by Tamil activists on buildings across Scotland. Photo: Tamil Guardian, 2021. 

Judit Kolbe 

Sri Lanka and Human Rights Researcher 

Global Human Rights Defence 

The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, started yesterday, on the 31st of October 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived in Glasgow on the 30th of October, in order to attend the COP26 (Colombo Page, 2021). Ahead of the President's arrival, Tamil activists across Scotland, the United Kingdom generally, and other European States, such as France and Belgium, have been protesting online and in the streets against President Rajapaksa (Tamil Guardian, 2021a). The protesters are calling for international accountability of Sri Lanka’s current President for numerous alleged war crimes and genocide committed against the Tamil minority when he was holding the office of Defence Secretary (Tail Guardian, 2021b). Earlier last week, a ‘landmark’ submission was filed with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate alleged violations of international law, genocide and war crimes in Sri Lanka, naming President Rajapaksa as one of the perpetrators (Tamil Guardian, 2021b). Across Scotland, Tamil protesters had put up light projections onto buildings, including the Scottish Parliament Building, calling for international accountability of President Rajapaksa’s alleged participation in the Tamil genocide (Tamil Guardian, 2021b). 

Sources and further reading: 

Colombo Page (2021, October 30). President arrives in Glasgow to attend UN COP26 conference. Colombo Page. http://www.colombopage.com/archive_21B/Oct30_1635612359CH.php 

Tamil Guardian (2021, October 31). ‘Gotabaya is a genocide and environment destroyer’ - Protest in Belgium against COP26 visit. Tamil Guardian. https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/gotabaya-genocider-and-environment-destroyer-protest-belgium-against-cop26-visit 

Tamil Guardian (2021, October 29). ‘Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, Wanted for Genocide’ - Scottish Parliament lit up ahead of Gotabaya visit. Tamil Guardian. https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/rajapaksa-sri-lanka-wanted-genocide-scottish-parliament-lit-ahead-gotabaya-visit