Newsletter

ATC is calling on the Australian government to urge Sri Lanka to protect its religious minorities from continuing violence

The Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) strongly condemns the communal violence targeting the Muslim community in south-western Sri Lanka over the past couple of days.

More than 78 people have been seriously injured and at least three have been confirmed dead following violence predominantly aimed at the Muslim population in the towns of Aluthgama and Beruwala. On Sunday 15th June, a rally by the extremist, Buddhist Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) organisation, descended into chaos as the BBS and its followers moved through predominantly Muslim areas chanting anti-Muslim slogans and inciting hatred.  Mosques and tens of Muslim-owned local businesses and homes have been destroyed by the rampaging mobs. Violence targeting ethnic and religious minorities, and the police not acting promptly and even-handedly with tacit support from senior government officials, is becoming a regular occurrence, and the current escalation of violence appears to confirm this worrying trend. 

Speaking on the issue during the current 26th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN High Commissioner Ms Pillay stated that “the Government must urgently do everything it can to arrest this violence, curb the incitement and hate speech which is driving it, and protect all religious minorities.” Her office has previously raised alarm at the escalation of attacks upon Muslims, Hindus and Christians and the ways in which Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists organisations, like BBS, have incited violence.

US Embassy in Colombo in a statement urged "the government to ensure that order is preserved and the lives of citizens, places of worship, and property are protected" and called on the Sri Lankan authorities to investigate these attacks and bring those responsible for justice. Canadian government in an official statement has called on the Sri Lankan government to act quickly to ensure the safety of all communities, adding that "the attacks on Muslims in the country are completely unacceptable and a clear violation of the right to religious freedom."

ATC calls on the Australian government to publicly condemn this wanton violence inflicted upon religious minorities in Sri Lanka, and to insists that the Sri Lankan government take immediate steps to ensure protection for all communities and to bring those responsible for justice.

 

ATC Submission for the Proposed Changes to the Racial Discrimination Act

On behalf of Australian Tamils who appreciate the social cohesion of our society, ATC made a submission in relation to the exposure draft Bill on proposed changes to the racial hatred provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

The Australian Tamil Congress believes it should be unlawful to offend, insult or humiliate based on race, and we unreservedly oppose the proposed changes, in the interest of all Australians to keep Australia free from any form of racism and bigotry.

Full Submission - Click here

International Women's Day Statement

 

The insecurity of Tamil women in Sri Lanka

This year, International Women’s Day celebrates the theme of ‘Equality for women is progress for all’. This idea should be at the core of a drive towards fairer societies and a better world. However, in many countries the rights of women continue to be denied, ignored and undermined.

Sri Lanka is one such place where women’s rights – particularly those of Tamils who reside in the former armed conflict areas of the North and East - are under sustained assault.

Full Statement : Click here

Allegations of Australia Giving Custody of Asylumseekers in Manus to Former Sri Lanka Army Major

Australian Tamil Congress Press Release

24 Feb 2014

Extremely disturbing news has surfaced that the commander of the G4S security forces at Manus Island Detention Centre is a man named Dinesh Perera who may have been a former Major in the Sri Lankan Army.
 
Many Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka claim their main reason for seeking asylum is due to fear of persecution from the Sri Lankan state and its military.
 
Sri Lanka has also been in the media spotlight having been accused of human rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Tamils in the island, and calls for Sri Lanka to be investigated for these crimes are on the increase.
 
"A deeply concerning pattern seems to be emerging. We have Tamils fleeing a military accused of war crimes. They are then detained and held in the custody of a former member of that very military. This man has access to all their personal details. Then they are returned back to Sri Lanka, after which their fate is not known," said Dr Sam Pari of the Australian Tamil Congress. "If Dinesh Perera's background is confirmed, then Australia is no longer simply turning a blind eye to Sri Lanka's persecution of the Tamil people, but it is aiding and abetting it," she added.
 
Media contact: Dr Sam Pari 0433 428 967

 

LABOR STANDS UP FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN SRI LANKA‏

 MEDIA RELEASE-Michelle Rowland MP-

Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism

Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications-Federal Member for Greenway

 

Labor has initiated a successful motion in the Australian Senate calling for Australia to co-sponsor the US-led resolution against Sri Lanka in the UNHRC and support an

international investigation into war time violations committed by both sides during the war.

 Federal Member for Greenway, Michelle Rowland, who represents one of the largest Sri Lankan populations in the country, said the motion reinforced Labor’s commitment to human rights.

 “This is an important step on getting Australia to co-sponsor the US-led resolution against Sri Lanka in the UNHRC,” Ms Rowland said.

 “Labor recognises that accountability and transparency is crucal for reconciliation in Sri Lanka and that’s why we are pushing Australia to support an international investigation into war time violations on both sides during the Sri Lankan civil war.

 “I represent a large Tamil and Sinhalese population who want reconciliation in their homeland and it is crucial Australia stands up on this matter.

 “The time has come for the International Community to actively promote human rights, political resolution and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.”

 FRIDAY, 14 FEBRUARY 2014

NICK TRAINOR 0407 078 138

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