Cameron’s historic visit upstages Commonwealth summit
PM Cameron made an historic visit to Sri Lanka’s former warzone. AFP photoSurvivors of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict poured their hearts out to Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron on Nov. 15 as he paid a “harrowing” visit to the war-torn north, upstaging a Commonwealth summit in Colombo.
After Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse warned his peers against passing judgement on his country’s past, Cameron headed to the Jaffna peninsula where some 100,000 people lost their lives in fighting between Tamil rebels and troops from the majority Sinhalese government. Dozens of protestors, many clutching photos of their missing loved ones, took to the streets of Jaffna as Cameron toured the main town in the north. As police with shields tried to keep them away, some women managed to break through and several tried to hurl themselves at Cameron’s motorcade.
He also met residents of a resettlement camp who were desperate to tell him of the pain they endured during the 37-year conflict and ongoing hardships. “The stories I am hearing from the people here are often harrowing,” Cameron said on Twitter. The prime minister is the first foreign leader to visit Jaffna since the former British colony gained independence in 1948.
“This is going to make a very lasting impression on me. That is something you don’t forget,” Cameron said on a visit to the the Uthayan (“The Sun”) daily where the portraits of slain staff line the walls.