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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.

ATC Press Release-Tamil Family Freed from Indefinite Detention

The Australian Tamil Congress welcomes the release of a second refugee family, who had been detained indefinitely due to adverse security assessments by the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). This family of five including three children was detained since 2009.
Effectively ASIO has now reversed its findings after an independent review of its undisclosed assessments, by former federal court justice Hon. Margaret Stone.
A few weeks ago ASIO reversed its own finding of adverse assessment of another refugee family after an internal ASIO review.
"We are relieved with this result and hope the remainder of genuine refugees in indefinite detention will also be released," said Mr Bala Vigneswaran of the Australian Tamil Congress.
"There are over 50 genuine refugees, including women and children, with adverse security assessments. Five of them will finish four years in detention on 28 June this year. Our thoughts are with them," he added.
"We hope Director General of Security at ASIO will continue to accept the recommendations by Hon Margaret Stone", he further stated. 
Media contact:
Mr. Bala Vigneswaran, Australian Tamil Congress – 0404 404 777

Geoffrey Robertson on human rights abuses in Sri Lanka

ABC-Radio National- Presented by Geraldine Doogue- 4 May 2013

The QC Geoffrey Robertson is one of a growing number calling for the leaders of Commonwealth countries to boycott the CHOGM heads of government meeting, planned for Colombo Sri Lanka, in November.

He conducted a review of the process that led to the impeachment and sacking of the country's chief justice earlier this year, that found Sri Lanka's legal system wanting.

A recent report from Amnesty International also claims there are mounting human rights abuses in the country against anyone who is critical of the government.

Listen to Audio:

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