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Motion: Sri Lanka

Lee Rhiannon 21 Mar 2013

Senator MADIGAN (Victoria) (15:27): I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 1211 standing in my name by removing the name of Senator Rhiannon and adding the name of Senator Xenophon.

Leave granted.

Senator MADIGAN: I, and also on behalf of Senator Xenophon, move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the 22nd Session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council will this week vote on a resolution, tabled by the United States of America (US), urging Sri Lanka to fulfil its public commitments, including the devolution of political authority, which is integral to reconciliation and the full enjoyment of human rights by all members of its population,

(ii) the resolution expresses concern at the continuing reports of human rights violations in Sri Lanka, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, and violations of various rights of freedom, as well as intimidation of, and reprisals against, human rights defenders, and discriminations on the basis of religion or belief,

(iii) the resolution has been co-sponsored by Austria, Canada, Croatia, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the US, and

(iv) the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka; and

(b) congratulates the government on its decision to add Australia to the list of co-sponsors; and

(c) calls on the government to support efforts to secure the US initiated resolution on Sri Lanka at the 22nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council, through the Australian permanent representative in Geneva.

Question agreed to.

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (15:28): Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator RHIANNON: The Greens do not support this motion. Because of the current circumstances, we did not call a division. While I believe this motion has been moved in good faith by Senators Madigan and Xenophon, the Australian Greens cannot congratulate the government in supporting the empty US-initiated resolution on Sri Lanka, tabled at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. It is weak because it urges the Sri Lankan government to implement its own investigation into the war crimes that it is accused of committing.

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