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  • Ten years since the war in Sri Lanka came to a brutal end, the Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) stands in solidarity with the Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka and vows to continue to strive for justice, peace and freedom for the Tamil people. The ATC joins 60 other organisations worldwide in endorsing the below statement:   On 18 May 2019, ten years since the Sri Lankan state’s genocide against the Tamil nation reached its peak, we stand in solidarity with our brethren in their quest for justice.    We believe that an international independent investigation is the only credible path...
  • May 2019 marks a decade since the final days of the war in Sri Lanka, a period which saw thousands of people killed and disappeared as Sri Lanka accelerated its genocide against the Tamils. Despite two UN initiated reports, several UNHuman Rights Council resolutions and a multitude of reports by human rights organisations, Tamil victims and survivors are no closer to receiving justice. What alternative paths exist for Tamil victims and survivors? Is a hybrid mechanism possible? Should a fully international tribunal be sought?Join us as we explore these questions in conversation with Dr Helen...

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  • 22-04-2019
    The Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) deeply condemns the attacks carried out on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday 21 April 2019 which have resulted in least 207 dead and many more injured.  The ATC is saddened at the loss of innocent lives and stands in solidarity with the victims and their loved ones.  Sri Lanka has a long history of religious extremism and perpetrators of religious violence have been known to act with impunity. As recent as 27 March 2019 the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Bachelet, while underlining the importance of accountability to the...
  • 11-01-2019
    Yet another New Year dawns almost 10 years since the worst of the genocidal onslaught against the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan state with no sign of the victims receiving justice in the near future. More than three years after UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution 30/1 on Sri Lanka, to-date Sri Lanka has taken very few steps to fulfil its obligations and none of those implemented have produced any substantive outcomes for those most affected by the war. The current President and the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka have made repeated statements rejecting some of the most important...

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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.

Media Contact: 1300 660 629 

 

Minister Morrison's Comments Nothing More than Propaganda

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 Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, Singapore Foreign Minister K Shanmugam, and most recently, South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Sumanthiran MP also expressed disappointment that Mr. Morrison had squandered the opportunity to learn more about the plight of Tamil citizens in the war-ravaged North, despite repeated effort by the TNA to arrange a meeting with the Minister.

Australian Tamils are also deeply concerned about the secretive nature of Minister Morrison’s visit to the North, where he would meet only with the government appointed, retired military commander cum governor, while the popularly elected Chief Minister of the Northern Province, former Supreme Court Judge CV Wigneswaran, was kept in the dark. There is disbelief within the Tamil community that Minister Morrison would choose to go along on a government guided tour, while not meeting even a single elected Tamil representative from the war-ravaged area.  After being a willing participant of such state-orchestrated visit, any comment now he makes about the conditions in the Tamil areas should be viewed as nothing more than propaganda statements to suit the agenda of both the Sri Lankan and Australian governments. 

The International Community and the United Nations recognise that Sri Lanka is not a society at peace, and are taking steps to promote accountability, rule of law, and reconciliation in that country.  However, the Australian government, in contrast to our close allies, has chosen to either ignore or down play the ground reality for Tamils, with the expectation that such appeasement would contribute to the success of its ‘stop the boats’ policy.  In this context, ATC appeals to our government to adopt a balanced foreign policy approach, with respect for human rights as a key component.

 

Media contact: 1300 660 629

Important Announcement from ATC Evidence Collection Assistance Team‏

On 5 August 2014, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued the following notice:
 
In March 2014, the HRC adopted resolution A/HRC/25/1, requesting the United Nations High Commissioner for Human rights to “undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and to establish the facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and of the crimes perpetrated with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability”. 
 
In accordance with this resolution, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has established the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL).The mandate of the OISL includes violations and abuses of international human rights law and breaches of international humanitarian law as well as related crimes.
 
Submission to OHCHR
Anyone wishing to make submissions in respect of the above may do so as follows:
 
1. Organizations and individuals may make one written submission in English, Tamil or Sinhalese, not exceeding ten pages, and must include the contact details for the author(s) of the submission.
2. The Panel will receive submissions until 31 October 2014
3. Submissions may be sent by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or by post
4. Submissions made to the OISL will be treated as confidential according to the UN privacy protection procedure.
 
Further information may be obtained from
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/OISL.aspx
 
In Australia, the Australian Tamil Congress Evidence Collection Assistance Team has been working with legal professionals in coordinating evidence collection for the past three years. Our experienced team will be assisting those willing to provide evidence.
 
If you or anyone you know wishes to provide any evidence, please contact us on 1300 660 629(Australian callers). Overseas -Email- This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Please note that all information regarding those seeking assistance will be treated as confidential. 
 
Kind regards,
Evidence Collection Assistance Team
Australian Tamil Congress




நிகழ்ந்தேறிய போர்க்குற்றங்கள்இ மானிடத்திற்கெதிரான குற்றச்செயல்கள் உள்ளிட்ட மனித உரிமை மீறல்கள் தொடர்பான விசாரணைகளை ஐக்கிய நாடுகள் மனித உரிமைகள் ஆணையாளரின் அலுவலகம் ஆரம்பித்துள்ளது.
குற்றச்செயல் நடந்த காலம்: 21.02.2002 முதல் 15.11.2011 வரை. (இதனோடு தொடர்புடைய நிகழ்வுகள் அல்லது அதன் தொடர்ச்சி அதற்கு பின்னர் நடைபெற்றாலும் அதுகுறித்தும் புகார் தெரிவிக்கலாம்).

இவை தொடர்பாக.யாரவது தகவல்கள சமர்ப்பிக்க விரும்புவோர் பின்வரும் வழிகளில் அவற்றினை செய்யலாம்.

  • ஸ்தாபனங்களோ அல்லது தனி நபர்களோ  பத்து பக்கங்களுக்குமேற்படாதஎழுத்து மூலமான சமர்ப்பணங்களை அனுப்பலாம்.  அவற்றுடன் இதனை அன்னுபுபவரினை தொடர்பு கொள்ளக் கூடிய விபரங்கள் இணைக்க வேண்டும
  • மனு அனுப்ப வேண்டிய கடைசி நாள்: 30.10.2014. (அக்டோபர் மாதம் 30 ஆம் நாளுக்கு முன்னதாக புகார்களை அனுப்ப வேண்டும்)
  • மனு அனுப்பவேண்டிய மின்னஞ்சல் : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..         அனுப்பப்படும் விவரணங்கள் யாவும் இரகசியத்தன்மை பேணப்படும்.

இது தொடர்பாக மேலதிக விபரங்களை- மின்னஞ்சல் விபரம்
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/OISL.aspx

அவுஸ்திரேலியாவில்இ எமது அவுஸ்திரேலிய தமிழர் பேரவையின் போர் குற்ற ஆதாரங்கள் சேகரிப்பு தொடர்பான குழுவினர் கடந்த மூன்று வருடங்களாக பல சட்ட வல்லுநர்களுடன் இணைந்து செயல்பட்டு வருகின்றனர்.
 
இது தொடர்பாக சாட்சியமளிக்க விரும்புவோர் எமது உதவிகளை  பெறுவதற்க்கு பின்வரும் இல்லக்கத்தில் எம்மை தொடர்பு கொள்ளலாம்

1300 660 629 (ஆஸ்திரேலியாவிலிருந்து தொடர்பு கொள்வோர்) 
தங்கள் பணிவுள்ள

போர்குற்ற ஆதாரங்கள் சேகரிப்பு தொடர்புகுழு
அவுஸ்திரேலிய தமிழர் பேரவை   
 

Tribute to Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser

A Global Good Samaritan Passes Away -

On this day we have lost an elder statesman, a strong advocate for human rights, and an ardent campaigner for the rights of the refugees worldwide. Malcolm Fraser was more than a politician. Anyone who had interacted with him lately will know what a candid, astute and accommodating personality he was. Australian Tamil Congress is saddened by the sudden demise of a visionary, who yearned for a world free of war, discord and differences.

Although a conservative party politician, he was a liberal democrat in real life. As a seasoned legislator he handled the ‘Big Issues’; in retirement he led the call for public debate on many humanitarian issues that even religious leaders were hesitant to give voice for.

At a seminar titled Human Rights as Foreign Policy’ held in Melbourne in August 2010, some of our members had a chance to meet him for the first time. Their experience was that this tall, distinguished and ostensibly aggressive former politician of aristocratic stature, is deep inside a considerate and compassionate personality. Having realised that some strangers are waiting to have a word with him long after the event, Mr Fraser kindly obliged: “You must be Tamils; what can I do for you?” he asked. It was very late in the night when he happily lent his ears, counselling his young admirers for nearly 15 minutes. “You should tell the individual stories of the people who are fleeing and their personal circumstances. By doing so we might be able to change the maligned image of the asylum seekers in the Australian public”, he advised.

In recent years he has been quite vocal in criticising Australia’s, what he called, ‘inhumane policies’. “Every Australian carries some part of the guilt for asylum-seeker policies that are inhumane and brutal. … … Both Liberal and Labor, have sought to demonise boat people and make Australians fear them”he wrote in an article to the Sydney Morning Herald. “If you lived in a country governed by a tyrannical regime, and your parents had been killed, and family members had been brutalised and put in prison without trial or in some cases shot without trial, what would you then do? You could not go to the government and ask for papers. That would immediately get you into trouble. So people travel without papers, something recognised in the 1954 Refugee Convention, to which Australia was one of the first signatories,” he pointed out candidly.

In March 2014, Mr Fraser made time to meet with a visiting Tamil Parliamentarian to update him on human rights issues and the impending US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC session that month. Later, he co-signed an appeal to the Government with six other Australian Eminent Persons, seeking Australia’s support for a UN human rights enquiry into the war in Sri Lanka.

From Vietnam to South Africa to Zimbabwe and lately Sri Lanka, Mr Fraser was a voice of reason and human dignity. In the late 1970’s, he helped tens of thousands of Vietnamese fleeing the war to resettle in Australia. As prime minister he supported the Commonwealth’s efforts to abolish apartheid in South Africa, and later as Co-chair of the Eminent Persons Group, he lobbied the US Congress to impose sanctions on South Africa. Just as he supported the freedom struggle for Zimbabwe, he spoke out categorically against the systemic excesses of Mugabe’s present day dictatorial regime. His concerns for Sri Lanka were so great that even in his last major TV interview he called for “more effective action from the Commonwealth” to properly examine and expose the grave and serious human rights abuses that have occurred in the country; this he hoped will lead to true reconciliation and prosperity in the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.

Mr Fraser had a particular desire to rejuvenate the Commonwealth as an active instrument for the advancement of mankind.  In a separate article to The Age titled Why the Commonwealth must regain its ethical zeal’, he urged the organisation to be a force for good again: “At this last (CHOGM 2014) meeting in Sri Lanka, only 26 heads of government attended. Canada stood by its principles; the Canadian Prime Minister refused to attend. The Australian government refused to criticise Sri Lanka, believing that its co-operation was necessary in stemming the flow of refugees to Australia. What would stem the flow are changes in the attitude of the Sri Lankan government so that there would be no need to flee the terror that government policy still inflicts in the minds and hearts of many Sri Lankans”.   He wrote boldly: “The Commonwealth has failed to take a responsible position. It has failed to live by its principles. It has failed to understand that ethics is a significant part of good governance”.

From introducing the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976, to promoting multiculturalism, to his last major interview in which he talked about ‘what a great Australia would look like’, Mr Fraser’s ideologies have been a challenge to the conscience of parliamentarians of all political persuasions, locally and overseas.

He strived to drive the message that politicians have a duty to protect strangers and noncitizens beyond their country’s borders – putting human values first.

He defended the weak and the powerless against the blind and selfish power-seekers.

He strenuously advocated the integration of human rights values into the state's foreign policy, as opposed to be a mean-spirited rich country in a global democracy.

The Tamil people of Sri Lanka can truly say that they had a genuine friend in him, who gave voice for justice, truth and humanity from a faraway land.  ATC and the Tamil community of Australia remember with sincere gratitude this compassionate and caring Australian.

He was indeed a Global Good Samaritan.

Our deepest sympathies to his wife Tamie and children.

‘May he find eternal life.’

 

Reginald Jeganathan

Chairman

20 March 2015

Australian Tamil Congress Welcomes Australia’s Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

The Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) on behalf of Australian Tamils congratulates the Australian Government for the generous action taken to address the Syrian refugee crisis.

ATC also acknowledges that with over half of the refugees fleeing Syria are children, the Syrian crisis is the biggest humanitarian emergency currently faced by the world.

We as proud citizens , sincerely applaud the Australian Government’s decision to settle a generous number of Syrian refugees in Australia. The response comes at a crucial time when UNHCR and the countries affected by the influx of the refugees are stretched to their capacity to deal with this refugee crisis.

The Australian Government and people of Australia have set a precedent for dealing with the unprecedented level of humanitarian crisis.

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