Britain’s Human Rights Abuses.
Posted on November 26th, 2013

Rudra de Zoysa, New Zealand.

Dear Editor,

 I was amazed at the number of examples given by the contributors to this publication about the instances of Britain’s human rights abuses. If you wish to read about all of Britain’s abuses of human rights since 1944 then please refer to or purchase the following book: –

 Curtis, M (2004). Unpeople, Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses. London, England. Vintage.

ISBN: 9780099469728

 Mark Curtis is a former Research Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). He has written extensively on Britain’s and USA’s foreign policies. Two of his more famous books are:

  1. The Ambiguities of Power, British Foreign Policy since 1945, and
  2. Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World.

 Curtis’s seminal publication, Unpeople, Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses contains 323 easy-to-read pages with 39 pages of references and notes. I purchased this book in 2011.

 At the very end of ‘Unpeople’, Curtis provides a table of figures giving the number of deaths since 1944 for which Britain has significant responsibility. He has divided the table in to 4 categories: –

  1. Direct responsibility.
  2. Indirect responsibility.
  3. Active inaction.
  4. Others.

 Curtis concludes that Britain has significant direct responsibility for between 4 and 6 million deaths.

 One dimension we tend to have forgotten is Britain’s role in the slave trade! The Portuguese and Spanish had the lead in this lucrative trade but British businessmen became involved in the trade in the 16th century, and the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) gave them the right to sell slaves in the Spanish Empire.

 In the 18th century, perhaps 6 million Africans were taken in atrocious conditions to the Americas as slaves, at least a third of them in British ships based mainly in Liverpool. The trade in human beings was termed “The triangular trade”. Slavery was a legal institution in all of the 13 American colonies and Canada (acquired by Britain in 1763). The profits of the slave trade and of Caribbean plantations amounted to 5% of the British economy at the time of the Industrial revolution.

The first part of “The triangular trade” was to take items such as guns and brandy to Africa to exchange for slaves. The second side of the triangle was to take the slaves on the ‘Middle Passage’ across the Atlantic to sell in the West Indies and North America. To complete the triangle the traders took a cargo of rum, cotton, gold and sugar back to sell in England.

Mr. Cameron, wake up! As our President Mahinda Rajapakse rightly said “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”.

3 Responses to “Britain’s Human Rights Abuses.”

  1. Indrajith Says:

    There’s a very good article by Retd. Major General Lalin Fernando in Asian Tribune.
    But due to copy right issues I cannot reproduce it here. Lankaweb readers please read that article to gain a lot of information about PM Cameron and Britain. It also contains a heart breaking drawing telling tragedies faced by brave Sinhalese in the British colonial era.

  2. jayasiri Says:

    Thank you RUDRA de Zoysa…New Zealand.

    It is true that Retd.Major General Lalin Fernando published an article in ASIAN TRIBUNE and I read it. It is very interesting to note British attrocities in Lanka, and in many other colonies.

    I feel Mr. Cameron should read this article of yours, and DIGEST WELL before unttering an word about the FOUR month deadine he gave our President Rajapaksha few days ago. It is amazing how these HOLIER THAN people have the nerve to CASTIGATE OTHERS, when they lack the common decency to PUT THEIR COUNTRY ORDER.

    Playing to the LTTE rump and other minorities to get their vote come next election is NOT AT ALLL SECURED. As he most propbably know one of the Foregn Ministers LOST HIS seat in the last election EVEN with the TAMIL VOTE.. So Mr. Cameron, know your history sometimes it MIGHT COME TO BITE YOU….Just another retd expat babbling away…..J

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    But PM Cameron knows how to protect Britain in the context of present day problems. Good hearted and nice Sinhela/Buddhists ought to know how to protect Sri Lanka too, even though the damage has already been done re illegal migrants mostly from Tamil Nadu. Let us learn from PM Cameron, even at this late stage.

    Sri Lanka is wooed and booed by various quarters ! Why ? Sri Lanka only defended itself against terrorism of 30 + yrs. Is that wrong ? Colonisation, Cold War & Tamil Caste problems (the three C’s) almost broke up Lanka.

    Look how PM Cameron intends to treat future migrant workers to the UK – and these are legal entrants into UK via the EU. He knows how to protect Britain. Sri Lanka should follow through with tougher laws to protect Lanka and deport all illegal migrants. Sri Lanka has been seen as the place to off load caste/poverty ridden Tamil folk of Tamil Nadu ever since the Colonists British & Dutch imported indentured labor from Tamil Nadu in vast numbers.

    During the time of the Peacekeeper Norway (CBK/Ranil times) with the ltte running the show in the N&E, we had hundreds of thousands of Tamil illegal migrants coming into Lanka via the Mannar route. Rev. Reyappu Joseph may know a lot about this. About a hundred churches were readied in the North too to convert desperate escapees from Tamil Nadu.

    Whilst sympathizing with the plight of caste/poverty in TN, Sri Lanka is not the place to off load their troubles and create ‘Eelams’. Eelams or no Eelams Lanka cannot afford illegal migrants from anywhere. Most of Lanka problems are due to TN
    internal problems.

    Sri Lanka’s problem is a Labor problem which ought to be faced by the Parliament (not just GoSL), the JVP as well as Tamil leaders (particularly the ltte sympathizers), and the clergy from various religious groups.

    Please read article below which shows how PM Cameron protects Britain.


    27 November 2013 – BBC

    Migration plan could make UK look nasty – EU commissioner

    Mr Cameron is proposing powers to deport homeless migrants and cut rights to unemployment and housing benefits.

    But Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor urged the government not to encourage “hysteria”, telling the BBC that people in the UK were not being told the “full truth” about the benefits of immigration.

    In an article in the Financial Times, the prime minister said the last Labour government had made a “monumental mistake” in not restricting access to the UK labour market when Poland and nine other countries joined the EU in 2004, resulting in much larger numbers coming than expected.

    He announced measures including:

    New migrants not getting out-of-work benefits for the first three months
    Payments being stopped after six months unless the claimant has a “genuine” chance of a job
    New migrants not being able to claim housing benefit immediately
    Deportation of those caught begging or sleeping rough, with no return within a year
    Quadrupling fines for employers not paying the minimum wage
    Mr Cameron also questioned the principle of free movement of people across the EU, saying this right could not be “unqualified”.

    He suggested a future Conservative government, as part of its pledge to renegotiate EU membership, could seek more discretion over migration policy.

    Working with other like-minded EU governments he said they would look at allowing member states to halt arrivals if numbers moving exceeded a certain level.

    He also suggested that freedom of movement should only be fully allowed if the average income of a country’s people was not too far below the EU average.

    ‘New settlement’
    Transitional controls limiting Bulgarian and Romanian workers’ access to the UK labour market – in place since the two countries joined the EU in 2007 – will expire at the end of the year.

    There have been warnings of an “influx” of low-skilled workers and calls from across the political spectrum to review migrants’ access to the health service and welfare system.

    “We are changing the rules so that no-one can come to this country and expect to get out-of-work benefits immediately,” Mr Cameron wrote.

    He said it was time to recognise the principle of free movement, a fundamental tenet of the European Union, had “become a trigger for vast population movements”.

    “It is time for a new settlement which recognises that free movement is a central principle of the EU, but it cannot be a completely unqualified one,” he added.

    Graphic: Eastern European workers in the UK
    Mr Cameron said the UK would work with other EU countries to “return the concept of free movement to a more sensible basis”.

    However, Mr Andor described Mr Cameron’s proposals as “an unfortunate over-reaction”, adding that EU rules applied equally to all 28 member states and had been agreed to by the UK.

    He told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that “dismantling” the rules could lead to a “slippery slope”.

    Mr Andor also said: “The point is that the British public has not been told all the truth.”

    He added that there were existing EU safeguards to prevent “benefit tourism”, saying: “We would need a more accurate presentation of the reality, not under pressure, not under hysteria, as sometimes happens in the UK… I would insist on presenting the truth, not false assumptions.”

    Immigration from Poland and other countries had benefited the UK economy, he said, arguing that the prime minister’s suggestions risked “presenting the UK as a kind of nasty country in the European Union”.

    The Lib Dems said the “sensible” changes would “restore confidence” in the immigration system and “ensure that the right to work does not automatically mean the right to claim”.

    ‘Too generous’
    “Other countries in the EU already have similar policies and are considering the case for going further,” said deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. “Unfettered access to benefits across the member states does not exist.”

    But shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the prime minister was “playing catch-up” and copying a Labour idea.

    “After Labour proposed this change in March, the government said it was all fine and nothing needed to change. Yet now, rather than following a coherent plan, they are flailing around.”

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the UK was “still being far too generous”, adding: “Under his proposal, somebody can come here on 1 January from Romania and within 12 weeks be entitled to unemployment benefit.”

    He added the plan would do nothing to stop an unrestricted flow of a “very large number of unskilled people” coming into Britain at a time when the country was struggling with youth unemployment.

    The UK has been involved in a long-running legal battle with the European Commission about EU nationals’ eligibility for benefits and UKIP has said this cannot be stopped unless the UK leaves the EU.

    MigrationWatch UK has said it expects 50,000 people to come from Bulgaria and Romania to the UK in each of the next five years but the Bulgarian ambassador has said he believes the figure will be much lower – predicting levels of about 8,000″.

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