Latest News

Australian Senate Joins Emerging International Calls for International Mechanism to Investigate War Crimes

Australian senate today moved a successful Senate motion calling on the Australian government to support such an investigation and the motion urged the Australian government to Co Sponsor the U.S Resolution to on Sri Lanka at the March Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The Senate motion was moved by the Labor Party and the Australian Greens with the support of the Independents. This motion comes at a crucial time as the international community prepares to vote at the UN Human Rights Council on a Sri Lankan war crimes investigation,

Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) has been lobbying tirelessly over the past few days to ensure a successful motion.

The ATC is delighted Australia's main opposition has supported the growing international call to establish an International mechanism to investigate the allegation of war crimes and crimes against humanity . This shift was possible because of continued support of Michelle Rowland MP (Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs) and several other MPs who were supportive to calls for truth and justice.

We are thankful to the Australian Greens for their continued steadfast support especially Senator Lee Rhiannon whose support has been inspiring and Senator Christine Milne.
 

   The motion
 

Senators Stephens, Moore and Rhiannon and Senator Milne to move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes Australia’s co-sponsorship of the:

(i) 2012 United Nations (UN) General Assembly Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution calling on the Sri Lankan Government to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of Sri Lanka and to take credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans, and

(ii) 2013 UN General Assembly HRC resolution expressing concern at continuing reports of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, and reiterating the call on the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the Commission’s recommendations and to fulfil its commitment to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law;

(b) notes:

(i) continuing reports of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, and international concerns about insufficient progress by the Government of Sri Lanka in addressing justice, reconciliation and accountability, and

(ii) the forthcoming update to the HRC 24th session on the progress of the 2012 and 2013 resolutions;

(c) calls on the Australian Government to:

(i) maintain Australia’s strong record of support for human rights at the 24th session of the HRC, including in relation to Sri Lanka,

(ii) support the United States in its call for the ‘international community to establish an independent international accountability mechanism to evaluate reports of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other human rights violations committed by both sides during and after the war in Sri Lanka’,

(iii) co-sponsor any United States resolution at the UNHRC in March 2014 regarding Sri Lanka’s progress on accountability and human rights, and

(iv) urge the Government of Sri Lanka to:

(a) allow unimpeded access for media, international aid agencies, and human rights groups into all regions of the country, as well as to detention sites that may hold political and war prisoners, and

(b) end its media restrictions, including the obstacles to the flow of information in the north and east, and bring to justice those responsible for attacks on journalists and newspaper offices.

Peoples’ Tribunal on Sri Lanka finds UK complicity in the genocide against the Eelam Tamils

“The Tribunal found that UK complicity in the genocide against the Eelam Tamils during the period of the armed struggle and its repression was overt and explicit and qualifies as “‘aid or assistance’ furnished by one State for the commission of a wrongful act by another State", under Article 16 of the International Law Commission’s Articles on State Responsibility.Further, the Tribunal views the events of 2009 as the logical manifestation of the structural genocide that had been put in place during the colonial period and in the construction of the newly independent unitary Sri Lankan state.”

To view the full report click here

Open Letter to PM Abbott to Reconsider Attending CHOGM in Sri Lanka

As the Prime Minister of Canada has said, boycotting the Commonwealth’s most prestigious event is of real significance, and Canada is sending a strong message about its displeasure with an organization that has failed to stand up for its fundamental principles. However, it should not be Canada’s job alone to seek to safeguard the values of the association. Given Australia’s diplomatic influence within the Commonwealth and the adoption of the new Charter in March, securing the association’s future credibility and success should be an important international objective of the Australian Government as well. However, we believe that inaction on this matter and the tacit support President Rajapksa’s regime will be given, by attending CHOGM without first setting benchmarks on accountability, reconciliation and human rights, will undermine faith in the principles of Australian foreign policy and will weaken the Commonwealth

Please click here to read the full letter.

Australian Tamils reiterate calls to boycott CHOGM in Sri Lanka - Australian Tamil Congress

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed on Monday that he will not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meetings to be held in Sri Lanka later this year as Sri Lanka failed to uphold the Commonwealth's core values.

The Australian Tamil Congress has joined the global call for all countries to reconsider attending CHOGM in Sri Lanka given the island's repeated violations of human rights and it's persecution of the Tamil people.

 "In light of further atrocities and a culture of impunity only worsening in Sri Lanka, we will continue to ask our Prime Minister Tony Abbott to reconsider his decision to attend CHOGM," said Dr Sam Pari, National Spokesperson for the Australian Tamil Congress. "We welcome the Canadian Prime Minister's principled stand and hope more countries will follow this example," she added.

 Media Contact Dr Sam Pari,

Spokesperson, Australian Tamil Congress

Interview with No Fire Zone Director Callum Macrae- Australian Tour- The Wire

 
Tuesday 25 June 2013
 
A new film claims to show hard evidence of atrocities in the closing days of Sri Lanka's civil war. As Commonwealth leaders prepare to meet in the country for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting later in the year, the film is raising questions about the behaviour of the country's military forces. Next week on the show we'll speak to Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in Australia about the film.

 The documentary is called No Fire Zone: Sri Lanka’s Killing fields. The documentary compiles a lot footage like this to allege that in the final days of the war, Sri Lanka’s military was involved in targeting civilians, amongst other atrocities and war crimes. The Sri Lankan high commission in Australia says that this kind of footage could be from another time, they say it could be doctored, and they say it could show tamils bombing civilians.

Page 4 of 7