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Former Attorney General of Sri Lanka request Australia’s support to stop US$ 1.9 billion IMF Loan to Sri Lanka

May 3, 2009

The Hon Wayne Swan MP
The Treasurer
Parliament
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Treasurer,

IMF Emergency Support Loan-US$ 1.9 billion

Our organization, the AHRV, is a registered human rights organization, which seeks to give a voice to the voiceless when their human rights are violated. We understand that the question of whether the loan would achieve the intended objectives and also, whether the government observes the rule of law and complies with human rights, are relevant factors in the determination of an application to the IMF of a loan of this nature.

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  1. fastuntoactionaust permalink
    May 3, 2009 7:28 am

    The Hon Wayne Swan MP
    The Treasurer
    Parliament
    Canberra ACT 2600

    Dear Treasurer,

    IMF Emergency Support Loan-US$ 1.9 billion

    We have no doubt that your office would be aware of the application made by the Sri Lankan government to the IMF for the above loan. We understand that the loan is to cover the costs of immediate government functions and to pay for post-conflict resettlement.

    Our organization, the AHRV, is a registered human rights organization, which seeks to give a voice to the voiceless when their human rights are violated. We understand that the question of whether the loan would achieve the intended objectives and also, whether the government observes the rule of law and complies with human rights, are relevant factors in the determination of an application to the IMF of a loan of this nature.

    The US based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has already expressed its deep concern that the loan, which has been sought, will not achieve the intended objectives of the Sri Lankan government. The HRW states that the “plight of the internally displaced persons has been exacerbated by the Sri Lankan government’s decision in September 2008 to order most humanitarian agencies out of the Vanni. The government’s own efforts to bring in food, medical supplies, and other relief with a minimal role for the United Nations have been insufficient. Internally displaced persons who escape LTTE territory to what they hope is safety within government-controlled areas have been placed in “welfare centers” that are effectively detention camps”. In a recent report of 9 April 2009, the HRW said that the “Sri Lankan government should stop firing heavy artillery into the “no-fire zone” in the northern Vanni area where some 100,000 civilians are trapped by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, causing skyrocketing casualties” and further said that the “so-called no-fire zone is now one of the most dangerous places in the world”.

    The US Secretary of State, Ms Hillary Clinton, told Sri Lanka’s President, by telephone that Washington was “deeply concerned about deteriorating conditions and increasing loss of life in government designated safe areas”

    The UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, Ms Pillay, warned, “Certain actions undertaken by the Sri Lankan military and by the LTTE (Tigers) may constitute violations of international human rights and humanitarian law”.

    The 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which was passed in 2001, was to depoliticize senior appointments to the judiciary and the public service and to curtail the arbitrary power of the executive to appoint persons, who readily comply with even illegal executive directions. However, the failure of the government to comply with this law, has led to proceedings in the Supreme Court which has still not reached finality, mainly due to repeated applications for postponements by the government. The Centre for Policy Alternatives has stated that the “intentional subversion of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution poses a threat to the Rule of Law in Sri Lanka”.

    The Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact of 1957 and the Dudley Senanayake-Chelvanayakam Pact of 1965, constituted a solemn agreement for devolution of powers, between the Prime Minister at the time and the parliamentary leader of the party of the Tamils. Both pacts were later unilaterally abrogated by the government and never implemented. This was followed by a series of riots against the Tamils, non-violent civil disobedience and the demand for self-determination by the Tamils and ultimately to Tamil militancy. Even the present government established an All-Party Representative Committee, with a view to recommending a structure for devolution of powers. A majority report recommending such a structure was submitted to the government about two years ago. The only outcome was the explanation sought by the government from some of its nominees on the Committee as to why they signed the majority report. We have no doubt that this report too, like the two earlier pacts, has been consigned to the dustbin of history.

    The New York-based Genocide Prevention Project has placed Sri Lanka among the eight “Red alert” countries, which included Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Congo and Somalia, as currently experiencing genocidal conflict. In the light of the circumstances set out above, we would kindly request you, as a member of the Board of Governors of the IMF, not to approve the grant of the loan and to persuade other members to do likewise. I am also attaching printouts, from which I have reproduced or referred to, some of their contents in the body of this letter.

    Yours sincerely

    (Shiva Pasupati)
    President, AHRV & Formerly, Attorney General of Sri Lanka

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