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Prime Minister Rudd urged to press Sri Lanka on access to refugees

June 11, 2009

The Age –  PM urged to press Sri Lanka on access to refugees

PROMINENT Australians have written to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd asking him to push Sri Lanka to allow aid agencies and journalists unrestricted access to refugee camps amid growing concerns over human rights abuses.

The letter comes as Melbourne Tamil community leader Adrian Sinnappu accused the Federal Government of turning a blind eye to conditions in the camps in northern Sri Lanka by refusing to impose trade sanctions or travel bans against the Sinhalese Government.

Human rights groups have expressed concern about the camps, where 280,000 Tamils are being forcibly interned until the Government has found any suspected former members of the Tamil Tigers. The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers said children were being abducted from refugee camps by paramilitary groups who enjoy tacit support from the Sri Lankan Government, while Tamil refugees have claimed rape is widespread.

Sri Lanka was last month cleared of any wrongdoing by the UN Human Rights Council, after winning the backing of countries including India and China. But Associate Professor Damien Kingsbury, of Deakin University’s school of international and political studies, said this was politics that had nothing to do with the human rights catastrophe in Sri Lanka.

A Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said Australia was not considering trade or travel bans on Sri Lanka.

Read what Jake Lynch has to say about Australia’s complicity in the Sri Lankan war

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One Comment leave one →
  1. mrs puni selva permalink
    June 23, 2009 10:21 pm

    Australians for Tamil Justice, Thank you.

    This conflict is an extremely vicious one. Tamils are in this situation
    i. 28yrs after:
    Ethnic Conflict and Violence in Sri Lanka – Report of International Commission of Jurists 1981:
    ” The fate of the Tamils in Sri Lanka remains a matter of international concern”.
    ii. 26yrs after:
    The Review, International Commission of Jurists, December 1983:
    “The impact of the communal violence on the Tamils was shattering… The evidence points clearly to the conclusion that the violence of the Sinhala rioters on the Tamils amounted to Acts of Genocide”.

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