ATC advocacy bears fruit - bipartisan support for motion to support UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka war crimes

A timely motion has been passed unanimously today in the Australian Senate, voting to give bipartisan support for the US-led resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

As you are aware the 19th session of the UNHRC in Geneva is currently debating a US-led resolution on Sri Lanka. The Australian Senate motion being passed only days before the final vote at the UNHRC will give strength to the UNHRC vote taking place on Friday 23 March 2012 and counteract the intense lobbying by the Sri Lankan Government to ensure the UNHRC resolution is not passed.

The following motion was moved by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Senator Gary Humphries. The Australian Tamil Congress has been tirelessly lobbying Members of Parliament and Senators on issues of war crimes and we are confident that our continuous advocacy has bore fruit. However, we are aware that the US-led resolution is only a first step and we will continue to lobby for an international independent investigation to achieve the true justice for our Tamil brethren.

Kind regards,

Australian Tamil Congress

MOTION PASSED ON 21 March 2012

1) The Senate notes:

a. On the 13th of February 2012, the then Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd issued a media release in response to the Sri Lankan Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) final report that stated:

i. The LLRC report contains constructive proposals for advancing reconciliation and reconstruction, including through reducing the presence of security forces in the North, care of internally displaced persons and media freedoms;

ii. The Australian Government has consistently urged Sri Lanka to investigate all allegations of crimes committed by both sides to the conflict, including those raised in the UN Secretary-General's Panel of Experts report;

iii. In light of the report's failure to comprehensively address such allegations, the government continues to call on Sri Lanka for all such allegations to be investigated in a transparent and independent manner.

2) The Senate calls on the Australian government, as a minimum, to support efforts to secure a US initiated resolution on Sri Lanka at the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, through the Australian permanent representative in Geneva.