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  • The Australian Tamil Congress (ATC), a national organisation representing Australian Tamils, has welcomed a high court interim injunction till 4pm today which will prevent Australian authorities from handing 153 Tamil asylum seekers over to the Sri Lankan navy.   "This high court decision is representative of the true Aussie spirit - of ensuring, not denying, a fair go to everyone," said Mr Bala Vigneswaran of the ATC. "These individuals, apparently intercepted in mid-sea as they fled persecution to seek asylum, have a right to a just hearing of their case as per international laws and the...
  • On June 25th, 2014, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay announced that three distinguished experts will advise and support the UN international investigation team set up to conduct a comprehensive investigation of alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, as mandated by Human Rights Council resolution 25/1 in March 2014.  The experts include: Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Ms. Silvia Cartwright, former Governor-General and High Court judge of New Zealand; and Ms. Asma Jahangir, former President of...

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  • 10-07-2014
    Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) expresses utter dismay and strongly condemns the decision by Minister Scott Morrison to not meet the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) or Tamil civil society leaders during his recent visit to the northern city of Jaffna. Senior TNA MP and lawyer MA Sumanthiran stated that most foreign delegations that visited the north always made the effort to consult with a wide range of stakeholders, including the elected Tamil representatives, to gauge the real situation faced by Tamils. He alluded to the recent visits of British Prime Minister David Cameron, former Indian...
  • 03-07-2014
    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,...

PM's Comments on Sri Lanka- Shameful and Obsequious Brand of Appeasement

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.

  • On June 25th, 2014, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay announced that three distinguished experts will advise and support the UN international investigation team set up to conduct a comprehensive investigation of alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, as mandated by UN Human Rights Council resolution in March 2014. 
  • Aiming to stem the tide of violent attacks and recrimination against Sri Lanka’s Muslim and Christian communities, a group of United Nations human rights experts called on the government of Sri Lanka (July 03, 2014) to adopt urgent measures to stop the promotion of racial and faith-based hatred, and to end “the atmosphere of impunity” fuelling hate speech and violence by Buddhist extremists.

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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