Skip to content

A gathering of over 450 Tamils are outside PM Rudd’s Canberra residence

April 14, 2009

The health of three Australian Tamil Youths (Sutha Thanbalasingam, Mathivannan Sinnathurai and Pratheepan Rajathurai ) who are on a Hunger Strike is rapidly deteriorating.

These boys are fasting in hope that the Australian government will use its diplomatic powers to force the Sri Lankan government to adhere to their four demands.

Click here for demands

But Kevin Rudd has kept silent. Why is this? Does he have no concern for the citizens of his country? How long does he plan to ignore the grievances of the Tamil community?

Stephen Smith said he welcomed a 48-hour cessation of hostilities. Why does he welcome something that is not even taking place? Reports from within the conflict zone indicate the government is still continuing its offensive. Even Reuters says the fighting has not stopped.

If the Sri Lankan army moves into the conflict zone tomorrow, then as the UN has warned there will be a bloodbath for the 100 000 civilians there.

WE MUST NOT CONTINUE TO REMAIN SILENT.

AFTA sends an urgent appeal to Prime Minister on fasting Australian Youths


Advertisements
4 Comments leave one →
  1. fastuntoactionaust permalink
    April 14, 2009 9:42 pm

    The Hon Kevin Rudd MP
    Prime Minister
    Parliament House
    Canberra ACT 2600

    Dear Hon. Prime Minister

    An Urgent Appeal to Heed to the Humanitarian Plea from the Fasting Tamil Australian Youth in Sydney and Melbourne

    The Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations (AFTA), the peak body representing the Tamil Australians, would like to bring to your urgent attention about the Tamil Australian youth who are on a “Starve until you act” activity in Sydney and Melbourne. Three youths in Sydney started their fasting on Saturday, 11th April at Parramatta Church Street Mall and later moved with their supporters and sympathisers to Kirribilli House on Sunday night. Taking into consideration of the inconveniences to the residents of Kirribilli Avenue, they have now decided to move to the lawns outside the Lodge in Canberra.

    The four youths in Melbourne started their fast on Monday, 13th April. The reasons why they have to resort to this drastic action have been well articulated in the letter that was written to you and copied to AFTA (a copy attached) by the Sydney youth. They have vowed to remain without food, water and medical aid until the
    horrific fate that awaits the Tamil people in Sri Lanka at the hands of the Government of Sri Lanka is acknowledged by the Australian government and given assurance of meaningful diplomatic action.

    This spontaneous drastic action by our youth indicates that they are frustrated over the lack of positive action taken to date by the Rudd Labor Government to end the suffering of their brethren in the Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka. They appear to have lost confidence in their community leaders who had been making representations
    without much success to the Australian government authorities time and again pleading for

    • condemnation of the genocidal attacks on the Tamil people,
    • the need to bring about an immediate and permanent ceasefire to end the killings and gain unhindered access to independent observers and humanitarian agencies to ascertain where the besieged civilians wish to live with dignity;
    and
    • Political negotiations between Sri Lanka and the LTTE addressing Tamils’ right to self-determination.

    As we write this letter, there is news coming out of Sri Lanka that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had told the armed forces to halt offensive operations during the Sri Lankan New Year — celebrated today and tomorrow by both the ethnic Tamils and the Sinhalese. Tamils consider this action by the government as to give a respite for the Sri Lankan soldiers, a badly needed break to celebrate the New Year.

    Although the move fell short of the cease-fire that foreign governments, the United Nations and human rights groups had called for, it at least halts indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilians and offers a window of opportunity for independent observers and humanitarian agencies to access the ‘no-fire zone’ and assess the true situation and work towards a permanent ceasefire and peace negotiations.

    U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon on Sunday welcomed the Sri Lankan government’s decision to halt its military offensive against the LTTE for two days, but said the move fell short of his demand for a “full humanitarian pause”. “This is less than the full humanitarian pause of several days I had pressed for but is nevertheless a useful first
    step and an opportunity to move towards the peaceful and orderly end to the fighting now so badly needed,” Mr. Ban said.

    British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said in a statement on Sunday, “The people of Sri Lanka have suffered for a long time in the absence of credible moves toward peaceful resolution of the dispute.” Richard Boucher, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia “emphasized US concern about the plight of the civilians trapped in the ‘no fire zone’ in northern Sri Lanka and urged Foreign Secretary Kohona to protect civilians,” the State Department said in a statement on the 10th April.

    AFTA feels, despite the repeated calls by the international community for a ceasefire to protect the civilians from a catastrophe, the Sri Lankan government’s recalcitrant stand and the lack of meaningful diplomatic action by our government may lead to more and more Tamil youth in Australia to follow the actions of these 3 youths in
    Sydney and 4 in Melbourne.

    You will appreciate that the 4 demands spelt out in their letter to you by these youths have been repeatedly emphasised by AFTA in its communications with your government and the opposition. AFTA would like to appeal to you to heed to their demands without delay. AFTA will be only pleased to assist you in this matter in whatever way possible.

    Thank you in anticipation of your speedy action.

    Yours truly
    Dr. Raga Ragavan

    Chairperson
    Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations Inc.
    14 April 2009
    CC: Hon Stephen Smith, Minister for Foreign Affairs
    Hon Maxine McKew MP
    Hon John Murphy MP
    Hon Laurie Ferguson MP
    Ms Julie Owens MP

    AUSTRALASIAN FEDERATION OF TAMIL ASSOCIATIONS INC.
    Established 1984
    Member Associations:
    Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Auckland and Wellington
    PO Box 382, Mawson, ACT 2607, Australia
    E-mail: chair.afta@gmail.com

  2. Sekar permalink
    April 14, 2009 10:01 pm

  3. fastuntoactionaust permalink
    April 14, 2009 10:10 pm

    Excerpt of Transcript
    Stephen Smith, Minister for Foreign Affairs
    Press Conference, Perth
    Monday 13 April 2009

    STEPHEN SMITH

    On Sri Lanka. Can I, as I have on many occasions in the past, urge both the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers, to bear in mind the need to protect and defend humanitarian law, the need to protect and defend civilians caught up in the violence in Sri Lanka.

    I welcome the temporary cessation of hostilities, the so-called “Holiday Truce” announced by the Sri Lankan government, which enables civilians to withdraw from areas of conflict. I urge the Tamil Tigers to agree to the so-called “Holiday Truce” to enable those civilians caught up in hostilities to remove themselves from centres of violence.

    We again urge all concerned to respect the civilian humanitarian rights of those caught up in the conflict, and urge the Sri Lankans to not just embark on a military campaign, but to respect that this dispute can only be resolved by political dialogue.

    I note that both in Australia and throughout the world there have been large demonstrations by members of the Sri Lankan community and I note that in Australia these demonstrations have been very peaceful. I welcome that very much. The Australian Government has consistently said that we want to see a cessation of hostilities in Sri Lanka, we want humanitarian law to be respected, we want civilians to be able to remove themselves from areas of hostility. We have previously called on the Tamil Tigers to lay down their arms and called on the Sri Lankan government to resolve these matters not just by military means but by political dialogue. And I repeat all those again today.

    I welcome very much the call by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, that the so-called “Holiday Truce” is a welcome first step. Australia agrees with that, it is a welcome first step. I discussed these matters with Ban Ki-moon when I was in the Hague recently for the purposes of the conference on Afghanistan.

    JOURNALIST
    The Tamil Tigers protest at Kirrabili has been peaceful, but there have been some who threatened to go on a hunger strike until they die, is that a concern?

    STEPHEN SMITH

    In my experience, demonstrations in Australia on Sri Lanka have been peaceful. I have had demonstrations at my own electorate office and they have been very peaceful and civilised and we certainly wish that to continue. And of course, we urge people, if they are making a point, to make their point peacefully and in a civilised manner.

    I certainly urge anyone contemplating a hunger strike, not to go on a hunger strike on this or any other matter.

  4. fastuntoactionaust permalink
    April 14, 2009 10:26 pm

    thank you. I have been looking for this video on youTube

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: