ATC’s letter in The Age
The Age : Convenient bogeymen
WHY are men, women and children fleeing Sri Lanka? It’s not because they want the thrill of risking life, limb and capture while spending days at sea in barely seaworthy vessels. These people are fleeing a humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka that has been orchestrated by the Government of Sri Lanka and motivated on ethnic grounds.
About 300,000 Tamils remain under military rule in camps that lack basic food, shelter and health requirements. Non-government organisations’ and independent media access to the camps is heavily restricted.
People smugglers are the middle men, and not the root cause of why people are desperate to escape persecution, hunger and an uncertain future. They are, however, convenient bogeymen for the Australian Government to apportion blame as it seeks to preserve its “warm diplomatic relations” with Sri Lanka. Through its silence and apathy, the Australian Government is helping condemn thousands of Tamil Sri Lankans to an uncertain and grim future.
Dr Sam Pari, Australian Tamil Congress, Sydney