MEDIA RELEASE 23 March 2012
Sri Lanka: Breakthrough at UN Human Rights Council
Australian Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon in welcoming the UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka said that it is a long awaited first step by the international community to hold the Sri Lankan Government to account for the war crimes committed during the civil war.
"The passing of this resolution is a sign that the international community is not willing to be hoodwinked by the Government of Sri Lanka,” Senator Rhiannon said.
"It is encouraging to see that countries like Nigeria, Cameroon and India that supported Sri Lanka in the 2009 UN HR Council voted in favour of this US-led resolution.
"It is disappointing to see that eight countries abstained, when there is clear evidence of the atrocities that were committed against the Tamils during the civil war.
“Earlier this week the Australian Senate unanimously passed a motion calling on the Australian government, as a minimum, to support efforts to secure this US-led resolution on Sri Lanka.
“It is pleasing that Foreign Minister Bob Carr ensured that Australia sent a clear message to Sri Lanka.
“The resolution that has just passed the UN Human Right Council is a foundation for stronger action.
"We need an international community led independent investigation into the credible and extremely serious allegations of war crimes raised by the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts.
"I will be urging Minister Carr to become more actively involved in working towards this.
“It is estimated that approximately 215,000 people were killed in the Sri Lankan civil war, with former Australian UN official in Sri Lanka during the war, Gordon Weiss, stating that up to 40,000 Tamil civilians died in the last few months.
“At the end of the war, about 330,000 Tamils were imprisoned in government run internment camps. Allegations of sexual abuse, torture, extra judicial killings and abductions ran rife.
“It is time all this is investigated and the perpetrators are brought to justice,” Senator Rhiannon said.
For more information please contact Senator Rhiannon 0487 350 880
Details of Vote:
YES (In support of the US sponsored resolution): Austria, Belgium, Benin, Cameroon, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Italy, Libya, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Poland, Republic Moldova, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, United States of America, Uruguay
ABSTAINED: Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Senegal
NO: Bangladesh, China, Congo, Cuba, Ecuador, Indonesia, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritania, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Uganda