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Greens secure unanimous support for action on Sri Lanka at UN

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 21 Mar 2012

The Australian Greens today secured support for a motion urging the Federal government to come out in support a US motion before the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) this week calling on the Sri Lankan government to initiate credible and independent actions into war crimes.

The motion, moved by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Senator Gary Humphries, is below. A vote is expected on the US-sponsored resolution at the UNHRC this Friday.

"Former Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd took a disappointingly weak stand on the atrocities committed in the Sri Lankan civil war and I hope that this bipartisan support under Bob Carr signals a new direction for Federal Labor" said Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon.

"Winning support for a motion based on the US sponsored resolution puts both Labor and Liberal on the record as supporting further investigation of war crimes against the Tamils in Sri Lanka. 

"The Greens would have welcomed a stronger resolution at the UNHRC that called for an investigation led by the international community, rather than leaving the ball in the Sri Lankan government's court.

"Throwing weight behind this motion is the least the Australian government can do to reaffirm respect for human rights and justice in Sri Lanka.

"The Australian Greens will continue to work with activists in Australia to push for a full independent investigation of war crimes committed during the Sri Lankan civil war", said Senator Rhiannon.

Motion to the Senate - 20 March 2012

I give notice that on 21 March 2012 I shall move that:  

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.



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