UK Tamils demand justice for civil war victims at a vigil in London.
Tamils who fled the Sri Lankan civil war attended a vigil in London on Wednesday, with several comparing the island's current economic crisis to the hardships they endured during the decades-long battle.
The gathering of Tamils seeking justice for those killed in the South Asian country during the conflict coincided with Sri Lanka's greatest economic crisis since its independence in 1948, which pushed the country's prime minister to resign.
"The current dilemma in Colombo reminds me of our wartime struggles." "Shortage of gasoline, food, medicine – the Tamil-dominated sections of Sri Lanka had the same challenges then as the rest of the country does today," Thanikai, 42, who moved to the UK eight years ago, explained.
He is one of hundreds of thousands of Tamils who escaped the fighting after the Sri Lankan government defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009.
Human rights groups have since accused the country's military of killing civilians near the end of the conflict, in which the Tamil separatists battled for a separate state.
"We need justice for everyone who was killed," Thanikai stated.
The United Nations has accused both sides of war crimes and has been tasked with gathering evidence.
The UN has also cautioned that Sri Lanka's reluctance to resolve past crimes has considerably increased the danger of human rights violations occurring again.
"My parents and friends are still in Sri Lanka, but I'm too terrified to go back," said Elilarasi Manoharan, who attended the Trafalgar Square nonviolent march commemorating the 13th anniversary of the end of the war.
"However, with the economic crisis and the changes we are witnessing, perhaps if the Sri Lankan system changes, it will open avenues for us to visit our loved ones."