I would like to send my best wishes to everyone in Britain, Sri Lanka and around the world celebrating Aluth Avurudda and to all Tamil communities celebrating Puthandu today. It’s a time when millions of people will be coming together with families, friends and neighbours to celebrate their new year.
But it is also a time to remember the fantastic contribution Tamil and Sinhalese communities make to Britain. We see it around us, every single day – in our schools and our hospitals, in the arts and businesses – you play an incredibly important and positive role.
I’m sure many people celebrating today will be thinking of loved ones overseas, especially in Sri Lanka. When I met with President Sirisena in Downing Street last month I offered my support for the steps his government has begun to take to address the issues of the past. But I was also clear that the government must go further and that they must continue to offer full support to the ongoing UN investigation.
I hope that this new year will bring communities closer together in helping to heal the wounds of the past.
To everyone celebrating Puthandu and Aluth Avurudda I wish you a very happy and prosperous new year.