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Response to Sri Lanka's ban of the Australian Tamil Congress

Lee Rhiannon 10 Apr 2014

Lee respond's to the Sri Lankan government's decision to label 16 overseas Tamil organizations as financers of terrorism.

See PR by Human Rights Watch

I work with many people from the Tamil and broader Sri Lankan community as well as a range of community groups in regards to my work advocating for justice in Sri Lanka. The Australian Tamil Congress and the Global Tamil Forum are two of these groups.

I work especially closely with ATC and have consistently found them to be very professional in their approach to a very distressful and barbaric situation in Sri Lanka for their members and a very hostile political environment in Australia.

ATC works very closely with all members of Parliament - Liberal, Labor, Independents, Greens. I have spoken to many politicians who have had high praise for them. ATC also works with lawyers, social workers, activists and church members.

I truly commend their work and will continue my strong relationship with them. I hope that ATC members will continue to recognise and be proud of the invaluable work of the organisation.

Sri Lanka's proscription of Tamil diaspora organisations is just an extension or another tactic by a very brutal regime to silence peaceful activism the community is involved in.
Through their hard work, professionalism and consistency they have been able to expose the monstrous ways of the Rajapakse government. This so called list is their desperate attempt to silence the truth about the war crimes committed under President Rajapakse and the genocide that is happening in Sri Lanka right now.

Even Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is aware of the grave human rights violations in Sri Lanka - she just choses to turn a blind eye for domestic political reasons.

It is encouraging to see that the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has responded to Sri Lanka.

Australia's silence on human rights abuses in Sri Lanka is nothing new. They have maintained this silence since the last phase of the war in 2009 under the Labor Government till now under Tony Abbott.  

Late last year a tribunal of 11 eminent judges found there is a very strong case that Sri Lankan government is guilty of the crime of continuing genocide against the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Australia's praise of the Rajapakse regime is a continuing shame. 


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