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Aussie Tamils continue their protest outside Kirribilli House

April 28, 2009

Demonstrators are planning to converge again tonight outside Kirribilli House.
See press release here.

SMH : Tamils protest outside Kirribilli House
“It’s not your usual bunch of uni students or union workers,” she said.

“It’s a community that is grieving. A community that feels betrayed by the international community, and by the Australian Rudd government.

“You have children who haven’t heard from their grandparents in months, university students who can’t study because they haven’t heard from their cousins.

“For us to come out (almost) every single day for the last fortnight, to compromise our work and our study, to come out in such large numbers, it shows the pain and the suffering and the hurt that we are going through and the fact the Rudd government still has not acknowledged all of this.”

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  1. fastuntoactionaust permalink
    April 28, 2009 5:27 pm

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE on 28 April 2009 4.00 PM –

    Australian Tamils Protest in Kirribilli Again;
    Claim Sri Lankan State’s Use of Heavy Weaponry Continuing

    Australian Tamils will converge again tonight at 6pm outside Kirribilli House as part of their continuous demonstrations to urge Mr Rudd to join the United Kingdom, United States of America and European Union in openly pushing the Sri Lankan government to accept the Tamil Tigers’ call for a ceasefire.

    The European Union has now joined the growing list of the countries calling on the Sri Lankan government to enter a ceasefire but the Australian government still has not, said members of the Australian Tamil community.

    The Sri Lankan government’s statement yesterday saying, “security forces [would]… end the use of heavy calibre guns, combat aircraft and aerial weapons which could cause civilian casualties” has been regarded by the Australian Tamil community as one of several lies and empty promises.

    “We analyse the Sri Lankan government’s recent statement as an acceptance that they have been using heavy weaponry in civilian areas thus far – which is against international law,” says Dr Sam Pari, a youth activist.

    “In any case, our sources from the ground confirm that air raids and heavy weaponry are still taking place, and there aren’t any monitors in the conflict zone to ensure these promises are being kept anyway,” she adds.

    In a response to the Sri Lanka’s statement, United Nations’ representative Mr John Holmes himself said, “I hope that the idea of not using heavy weapons will genuinely be respected, which I am afraid has not been the case in the past.”

    On Monday, Human Rights Watch said that the Sri Lankan government’s admission that it has been using heavy weapons in an area crowded with displaced civilians underscores the need for an international commission of inquiry into violations of the laws of war by government forces.

    On Sunday, the British All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils issued a statement saying it “welcomes the announcement made today by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of a unilateral ceasefire with immediate effect [which shows] commitment on the part of the LTTE, to address this unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka. It is of grave concern and disappointment that the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has rejected this offer of ceasefire, which would diffuse the humanitarian catastrophe.”

    The Tamil Tigers called a unilateral ceasefire on Sunday. “In the face of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and in response to the calls made by the UN, EU, the governments of the USA, India and others, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has announced an unilateral ceasefire. All of LTTE’s offensive military operations will cease with immediate effect,” said a media release issued by the Political Head Quarters of the LTTE yesterday. “We have taken into account the recent declarations by the G8 nations, the Whitehouse, Indian Ministers and the EU and other members of international community. We are in full agreement that the humanitarian crisis can only be overcome by declaration of an immediate ceasefire,” it further read, urging the international community to pressure the Sri Lankan government to reciprocate it. However, the notion of a ceasefire was immediately rejected by the Sri Lankan government.

    Media Contacts:
    Ms Geetha Mano – 0433 452 981
    Dr Sam Pari – 0433 428 967
    Mr Aheelan Francis – 0420 522 099

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