Created on Thursday, 03 July 2014 22:14
Australian Tamil Congress strongly condemns the statement made by Prime Minister Tony Abbott that Sri Lanka is at peace after end of civil war and that there has been a lot of progress when it comes to human rights and the rule of law in Sri Lanka. Prime Minister’s comment is a particularly shameful and obsequious brand of appeasement by Australia, and it wrongly elevates the politics of perceived national interest over widespread concerns about human rights and rule of law in Sri Lanka.
Furthermore, this statement is in stark contrast to those from our close allies such as US, UK, Canada and other progressive Western Nations, all of which have adopted a consistent and principled position of being highly critical of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. It is commonly accepted that the human rights record of the Sri Lankan government is appalling, and for this reason, Sri Lanka is under increasing scrutiny of the International Community.
In the recent past the Australian governments have not adopted strong positions on human rights violations in Sri Lanka, primarily due to their need for cooperation with the Sri Lankan government in handling the asylum seeker issue. However, it is important that Australia maintains a healthy de-link between these two issues, and such an enlightened policy approach is not only principled, but also in Australia’s long term national interest by promoting genuine transformation and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
Australian Tamil Community is deeply concerned about the fate of the Tamil refugees, and in particular, about the reports that they have been handed back to the Sri Lankan Navy in mid-sea. If these reports are correct, it will be a travesty to Australia’s foreign policy, and more importantly, this will be a serious breach of the accepted international norms and obligations that will bring long-lasting shame to the country we proudly call ours.
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