Early years and Education
Jan grew up in Sri Lanka, England, Zambia and Nigeria where her parents worked as school teachers. In England she lived in the seaside town of South Port in Merseyside, as well as in Croydon and in Bramdean, a small village near Winchester.
She studied for her GCE O and A levels by correspondence course from Africa and gained entry to Manchester University where she graduated with distinction in Computing and Information Systems. She also holds a Masters in Applied Mathematics from Imperial College, University of London and an MBA from INSEAD business school in France.
Jan’s family were granted leave to remain in England as refugees from the armed conflict in Sri Lanka, while Jan herself was granted a work visa in 1989 as a professional expert in her field.
Jan moved to London in 1992.
Jan started her career in Research and development for a leading computer manufacturer, Digital Equipment Ltd, before moving to the banking industry, where she worked in roles in technology, research and trading. She has worked for leading firms including Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse.
She currently works as interim project manager of quantitative technology for the Markets and Investment Banking Division of the Unicredit Group, Italy’s second largest banking group, splitting her time between the London and German offices.
She has also been involved in setting up and managing startup e-commerce ventures and understands the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses.
She is passionate about the transformative power of the internet, and of technology, and has a strong interest in macroeconomic issues.
Jan has been a human rights activist since 1995, when she co-founded HURT (Human Rights for Tamils) together with then medical student, Dr S Shiamila. She also writes regularly for Tamil media. For the last year she has been UK spokesperson for “Tamils Against Genocide” an advocacy group that seeks to obtain convictions for genocide against high-ranking Sri Lankan officials and the state. She is also recently a Director of the British Tamil law foundation that focuses on public and international humanitarian law.
Why I am participating in this election to the European Parliament
I have watched with dismay the gradual erosion of civil liberties in UK and Europe since 2001, the increase in the policing powers of the state, and the accompanying marginalisation of ethnic communities.
I am appalled by the indifference and impotence of the British and European political establishment in the context of the ongoing genocide in Sri Lanka.
I oppose the surreal wastefulness of the European tax-payer funding the purchase of banned weapons of war in countries such as Sri Lanka via international institutions such as the IMF all in the name of preserving “financial stability”.
On the other hand, racism is on the rise in Europe and the BNP has a real chance of getting a seat in London.
It is clear that when it comes to abiding by agreed international norms of behaviour our governments cannot be depended on. This is not just with respect to genocide but also in areas related to torture and detention.
In the last few months, I have tried to influence the large political parties and international organisations to do something tangible to stop the war in Sri Lanka. Young people have gone on hunger strike while ordinary people protest in their thousands in London. But we are unable to stop the forced starvation of an entire people. We cannot persuade our government to do air drops of food or to insist on delivery by ship. It seems that no lessons have been learned from Biafra, Rwanda, Srebenica, let alone the Jewish holocaust. These last few months have been a revelation.
One cannot leave matters in the hands of the established political parties. As an independent candidate who is not afraid to tell the truth and to catalyse change, I intend to make a difference in the areas in my manifesto.
Civil Rights For All
To defend Britain’s long tradition of civil rights and freedom of expression
To oppose and reverse the past decade’s erosion of the civil rights of individuals and communities;
To oppose the encroachment of the state onto the freedom and privacy of the individual, particularly in this electronically connected era
To strengthen access to justice in practice and to prioritise the protection of the legal rights of the individual including the right to Habeas Corpus
To challenge the failure of states to abide by the human rights agreements they have already signed up to - including, for example, the UN Genocide Convention, The UN covenant of the civil and political rights of peoples which includes the right to freedom from torture and the right to self-determination
To commit to a values-based approach to international policy over an interest-based approach
To oppose the criminalization of whole communities under the pretext of counter-terrorism, and promote the de-proscription of organisations acting responsibly to facilitate their transformation into a mainstream political body with the aim of achieving peaceful resolution of conflicts.
To oppose discrimination in any form, recognising it exists not just at the work place but also the justice system and in the provision of state services
To recognise that the competitive strength of Europe rests crucially on the skills and talent of its workforce
To prioritise free access to education for all
To prioritise the improvement of the quality of education at all levels, and to commit to support funding for scientific and technological research
To encourage the participation of women in disciplines where they remain under-represented, including science, technology and engineering.