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Asylum Seekers – The Tamil Solution

October 22, 2009

Sri Lanka Human Rights Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney

For immediate release 22/10/09

Asylum Seekers – The Tamil Solution

There is a simple solution to the Tamil crisis.

If all the citizens of Sri Lanka, including the 300 000 indefinitely and illegally detained in government run internment camps, are accorded their universal human rights, the need to flee Sri Lanka let alone risk a boat journey to Australia would cease.

Australian politicians should advocate this solution and cease their familiar resort to fear and loathing of vulnerable people as a main plank of their policies.

It may be acceptable politics to bash up the ‘deplorable people smugglers’, but the real issue has to do with innocent civilians who have been failed by their government and ignored by Australia.

The fleeing asylum seekers are people – children, pregnant women, mothers and fathers – who should be protected by their Commonwealth neighbours.

The Australian Government must find the vision and courage to address such a major human rights emergency in this region. It must not keep repeating the old mantra that Australia enjoys a ‘warm’ relationship with the Government of Sri Lanka. Such a cosy relationship can only continue at the expense of 300, 000 lives.

In November the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting will take place in Trinidad and Tobago. At that unique occasion the Government of Sri Lanka must be held to account for its serious human rights abuses. This will also be a very public opportunity for Australia to display its leadership by insisting on the ‘Tamil solution’ .

From Sri Lanka Human Rights Project, Univ. of Sydney

For media interviews please call
Stuart Rees 0434930134 or 9351 4763 (Sydney Peace Foundation)
Jake Lynch 042 098 0010 (Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies)
Gobie Raja 0401154799 (Sri Lanka Human Rights Project)
Brami Jegan 0433054712 (Sri Lanka Human Rights Project)

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