Sri Lanka slides towards autocracy

Sri Lanka’s parliament has approved a raft of changes to its constitution, giving more power to the President and prompting concerns of a slide towards autocracy.

The changes will allow President Mahinda Rajapaksa to seek a third term and remove some of the checks on executive power. The President comfortably secured the two-thirds majority of Parliamentary votes needed to pass the changes on Wednesday. The main opposition United National Party boycotted the vote, with one MP calling it the “death of democracy” for Sri Lanka.

Presenter: Sen Lam

Speaker: Gordon Weiss, a former senior UN official in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Government puppet mounts scare campaign

The Australian Tamil Congress urges the Australian media to rely on verifiable information from credible sources when dealing with sensitive issues. The article titled "Half of Sri Lankan arrivals have ties to Tigers" which appeared in The Australian on 14 July 2010 relies heavily on Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe, a self proclaimed defence analyst whom investigation reveals is only a Masters Student.

His inflammatory claims are not sourced but he has the gall to claim that credible and researched positions such as that of the UNHCR are "ridiculous". His posturing clearly outlines his ulterior motive of a smear campaign targeting the Tamil people. His reference to Sri Lankan Government claims that asylum seekers have Tiger connections cannot be relied upon. The Sri Lankan government, now facing a potential war crimes investigation has systemically sought to label Tamils as Tigers or potential terrorists in order to justify their collective punishment of a persecuted minority.

A similar campaign against Tamil asylum seekers in Canada was waged by the now discredited academic, Rohan Gunaratne. The Canadian media reported last week these claims had been proven to be fabricated -

Clearly this agenda of labelling is being spread to Australia.

"Why would one publish an article from a self anointed defence analyst with obvious vested interests in spreading rumour and mistruths about the Tamils?" asks Dr Sam Pari, spokesperson for the Australian Tamil Congress.

Media contact:

Dr Sam Pari – 0433 428 967

Guest Column: The International Dimensions of the Conflict in Sri Lanka

Guest Column by Ana Pararajasingham

(The views expressed by the author are his own)

Australian Tamil youth runs for Federal Senate

The Australian - Tamil refugee, Brami Jegan, seeks Senate seat

Senate Greens candidate Brami Jegan, a former banker and journalist, at Sydney's Darling Harbour. Picture: Amos Aikman *Source:* The Australian

"I know, my background is a bit different," the newly anointed Greens Senate candidate says with a laugh. "But I've got nothing to hide. I'm here because I want to contribute to our society."

ABC Unleashed – Asylum seekers set sail in a sea of silence

"Boat people’ not just an Immigration issue for Australia but also one of Foreign Policy writes ATC spoeksperson, Dr Sam Pari ABC Unleashed – Asylum seekers set sail in a sea of silence

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