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ABC reports on the conflict

June 11, 2009

ABC – Australia urged to do more for human rights in Sri Lanka

Reporter: Meredith Griffiths

PETER CAVE: The Australian Medical Association wants the Government here to find out what happened to three Sri Lankan doctors reportedly detained by government troops for speaking to journalists about civilian casualties during the final days of the war, and 15 prominent Australians have written to the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd asking him to push the Sri Lankan Government to allow access to refugee camps.

Meanwhile a Canadian politician who has been critical of the Sri Lankan Government’s handling of the war has been turned back at the airport in Colombo.

Meredith Griffiths prepared this report.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: It’s been nearly a month since the guns fell silent in northern Sri Lankan but the fallout of the war is far from over. Thousands of people are living in refugee camps run by the Government.

Amnesty International has raised concerns many people have gone missing or been detained. Among them are three doctors who gave important eye-witness accounts in the final days of the war.

Dr Brian Morton is the New South Wales president of the Australian Medical Association.

BRIAN MORTON: The doctors were treating the thousands of displaced civilians in the war-torn region. Even though the hospitals were damaged they continued to treat injured and sick in those areas in make-shift facilities.

And the three doctors reported heavy bombardments, high civilian suffering and casualties, and they were quoted by international media. It’s believed that because of that, retaliation by the Government, despite them being in fact employed by the Government, may have occurred.

MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: When concerns were first raised about their detention the Sri Lankan Government said the three doctors had been making false accusations about the Government forces and had colluding with the Tamil Tigers.

Under Sri Lankan law, the doctors must appear in court once a month. Dr Morton says it’s unclear if that’s happened or if they’ve even been charged because no-one’s heard from them since the 15th of May.

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ABC – Australia urged to stamp out Tamil support

The Sri Lankan Government has all but destroyed the Tamil Tigers, but it wants Australia to help deliver the final blow. It wants Australia to follow the US and the UK and declare the Tamil Tigers a terrorist group. Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Canberra is warning that Tamil Tiger supporters in Australia could reinvigorate the organisation.

TONY EASTLEY: The Sri Lankan Government has all but destroyed the Tamil Tigers, but it wants Australia to help deliver the final blow. It’s lobbying Australia to follow the US and declare the Tamil Tigers a terrorist group.

Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Canberra is warning that Tamil Tiger supporters in Australia could reinvigorate the organisation.

In the US three men have pleaded guilty to terrorism charges, admitting they conspired to funnel money and arms to rebels in Sri Lanka. But the ABC has seen evidence that Australia’s Government backed away from plans to ban the Tigers in November last year.

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