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The International Commission of Jurists accuse Sri Lanka

June 17, 2009

Australia Network News – Jurists accuse Sri Lanka

The International Commission of Jurists says Sri Lanka should come under more international pressure to relieve its humanitarian crisis.

The legal experts accuse the government in Colombo of breaching the Geneva Convention.

It is estimated that 300,000 Tamil civilians have been held in government camps since the military defeat of the Tamil Tigers in May.

Aid agencies describe their plight as desperate.

Former fighters

Overseas Tamils believe 10,000 more former fighters are being held.

President of the Australian chapter of the International Commission of Jurists, John Dowd, says both groups have humanitarian protection under the UN’s Geneva Convention.

This is “including the prisoners of war, many of whom I suspect are being tortured”, he says.

Mr Dowd says the Australian Government should take a leading role internationally.

“And we’ve got to encourage other members of the Commonwealth to treat the Sri Lankan government like lepers if they do not allow in the international aid agencies to stop a humanitarian crisis.”

Read article here.

ABC – Commonwealth should pressure Sri Lanka on crisis

The International Commission of Jurists says the Sri Lanka Government is in breach of the Geneva Convention in its treatment of displaced Tamils held in government-run camps.

Almost 300-thousand Tamils have been displaced since the Sri Lankan military defeated the rebel Tamil Tigers in May. Thousands of former fighters are thought to be held but their whereabouts and fate is unknown. Foreign governments are being urged to pressure Colombo to allow independent aid agencies into the camps and observe the Geneva Conventions that relate to prisoners of war.

Presenter: Karon Snowdon
Speaker: John Dowd, President of the Australian section of the International Commission of Jurists, a former Attorney General and Supreme Court judge

Listen to audio here.
Listen to audio from source.

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