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Carr challenged on Sri Lanka visit at time of human rights abuses

Foreign Minister Bob Carr's decision to strengthen Australia's military and intelligence cooperation with the Sri Lankan government at a time when there are increasing reports of human rights abuses directly linked to the Rajapakse regime has been criticised by Australian Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon.

"I urge Minister Carr to acquaint himself with reports out of Sri Lanka that on 12 December, 17 Tamil women were admitted to a hospital in Northern Sri Lanka. There is concern that these women had been sexually abused and brutalised by the Sri Lankan military", said Senator Rhiannon.

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Speech: November 27 - Maaveerar Naal

Lee Rhiannon 28 Nov 2012

Adjournment speech, Tuesday 27 November 2012

For Tamils all around the world, including in Sri Lanka, 27 November marks a very important and hauntingly sad day. In Tamil the day is known as Maaveerar Naal.

Veerar means 'warrior' or 'hero'; Maa means 'great'; and Naal means 'day'.

It is a day on which millions of Tamils will remember the hundreds and thousands of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children and the elderly who sacrificed their life in the 26-year-long struggle for their freedom.

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Turn up heat on Sri Lankan High Commissioner: Greens

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has called for the Sri Lankan High Commissioner Thisara Samarasinghe to be recalled, following today's reports that he oversaw efforts to stop Tamil asylum-seekers fleeing by boat to escape the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils in Sri Lanka in 2009.

"These boastful claims by the High Commissioner are embarrassing to the Australian government and raise the question of why Mr Samarasinghe continues to hold his position while allegations of his involvement in war crimes hang over his head" said Senator Rhiannon.

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Blog: Visiting Villawood

Blog post by Senator Lee Rhiannon

When I heard that another mother had been imprisoned at Villawood with her two children I went out to meet them. I regularly visit this detention centre, in Sydney's western suburbs, and have come to know quite a few of the detainees in there

I find most of my visits to Villawood are distressing, but this time it was especially difficult. There are now three mothers locked up indefinitely with no reason as to why and with a debilitating fear of what the future holds for their children.

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