July 31, 2009 Comments Off on Australia's not leading the way in refugee programs
The Wire : Australia’s not leading the way in refugee programs
Produced by Emma Carroll
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Tonight in Sydney a number of leading refugee advocates and support services will discuss Australia’s role in the South Asia region. A Just Australia and Amnesty International Australia are two of the groups attending. The discussion is part of the ALP conference’s fringe program. They both agree it’s important to discuss Australia’s role in terms of refugees and asylum seekers. Both groups are hoping the discussion will influence future government policy. Featuring Zhi Yan from campaign officer for A Just Australia and Dr Graham Thom, refugee coordinator Amnesty International.
July 31, 2009 Comments Off on IMF approves Sri Lanka loan despite unchanged human rights situation
Online Opinion – IMF approves Sri Lanka loan despite unchanged human rights situation
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on July 24, approved a US$2.6 billion loan to Sri Lanka despite the fact that the Sri Lankan government has done little to ease continuing human rights concerns in the two months since the end of the conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam Elam (LTTE).
Human Rights Watch had urged that the IMF insist that the government of President Rajapaksa address significant post-conflict human rights abuses as part of the loan approval process. Human Rights Watch said that more than 280,000 people, almost all of them Tamils, continue to be held in detention camps; the government restricts access by humanitarian organisations, the media and independent monitors to those camps; and suspected LTTE fighters are being held incommunicado in breach of international law.
“To approve a loan … while they have hundreds of thousands penned up in these camps is a reward for bad behaviour”, said Brad Adams, Asia Director of Human Rights Watch.
But several countries, including the United States and Britain, abstained when the fund’s board voted Friday to approve the loan, reflecting growing unease among many Western nations about alleged human rights abuses during and after Sri Lanka’s prosecution of the war against the Tamil Tiger insurgency.
That war ended in May, with the government’s stunning defeat of the Tigers on a narrow strip of beach in northern Sri Lanka. The entire senior command of the separatist group was killed, along with an untold number of Tamil civilians who had been used as human shields by the Tigers.
Since the end of the fighting, about 280,000 ethnic Tamils have been held in sprawling military-run camps in northern Sri Lanka.
Residents are not free to leave the camps, a measure government officials say is necessary to root out insurgents hiding among the population.
As the months wear on, the camps have posed an increasing problem for the Western countries that are paying for most of the food, shelter and medicine for the displaced.
Human rights organizations and diplomats say that serious questions linger about the manner in which the government prosecuted the war.
The United Nations has estimated that 7,000 civilians died near the end of the war, when hundreds of thousands of people were herded into a small area by the Tigers, who made their last stand among civilians. No reliable count has been made of the dead in the bloody last weeks of the fighting.
Sri Lanka has managed to avoid any international accounting of the civilian casualties, maneuvering votes in the Human Rights Council in Geneva, an intergovernmental body established by the United Nations, to stop calls for an independent investigation. Sri Lankan government officials have said that they are conducting their own inquiry, and that the war ultimately saved lives by halting a seemingly endless conflict.
The government has also pledged to get 80 percent of those displaced by the war back in their homes by the end of the year.
Human rights organizations had pressed the International Monetary Fund to hold back the loan, which Sri Lanka needs to stabilize its economy, until the government demonstrated a sincere commitment to respecting human rights.
“It is a simple matter of the government thumbing its nose at the international community and then coming to the international community for relief,” said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.
Usually such loans are not controversial and are decided on the basis of the economic criteria set out by the monetary fund’s staff, with the board vote being mostly a formality.
But some Western countries were agitating to hold back the loan until Sri Lanka met certain benchmarks, like allowing Tamils displaced by the fighting to return to their homes.
July 31, 2009 § 1 Comment
The Sri Lankan Government has long tried to portray the Sri Lankan civil war as a Government campaign against terrorism but the truth is that the Sri Lankan Government has carefully engineered the Genocide of Tamils on the island.
Read more here.
July 31, 2009 Comments Off on Abused Tamil women find a voice across the Indian Ocean
Social justice group ‘Women for Justice’ are raising awareness for Tamil women affected by civil war and suffering trauma from abuse at the hands of the Sri Lankan military. They say violent rapes, torture, prostitution rings, and the murder of Tamil women by the Sri Lankan military in so called concentration camps are a daily occurence. In this story VASUKI GUNA, who is part of the ‘Women for Justice’ Campaign talks about what she saw on a visit to Sri Lanka the apparent lack of international attention to what they beleive are horrific human rights abuses. Visit http://www.australiansfortaniljutice.com for more information.
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July 30, 2009 Comments Off on Kim Byung Ki writes about Black July and the Tamil struggle
Kim Byung Ki is an Australian based journalist who writes for the Korean media.
July 30, 2009 Comments Off on Sri Lanka: Free Civilians From Detention Camps
The Sri Lankan government should immediately release the more than 280,000 internally displaced Tamil civilians held in detention camps in northern Sri Lanka, Human Rights Watch said today.
The government, in violation of international law, has since March 2008 confined virtually all civilians displaced by the fighting between government forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in detention camps, euphemistically called “welfare centers” by the government. Only a small number of camp residents, mainly the elderly, have been released to host families and institutions for the elderly.
“Keeping several hundred thousand civilians who had been caught in the middle of a war penned in these camps is outrageous,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Haven’t they been through enough? They deserve their freedom, like all other Sri Lankans.”
July 30, 2009 Comments Off on Calls for Sri Lanka to release displaced Tamil refugees
eTaiwan News – Rights group pushes Sri Lanka to free civilians
Reuters India – Rights group urges resettlement for Sri Lanka’s displaced
Australia Network News – Human rights group urges for release of Tamils
July 30, 2009 Comments Off on US concerned over Sri Lankan camps
The Associated Press – US concerned over Sri Lankan camps
National Post – Bob Rae: Stop Searching for scapegoats in Sri Lanka
The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims and Torture – Sri Lanka: The urgency of bearing witness
July 30, 2009 Comments Off on End of conflict brings no respite to children from human rights abuses
Press statement by Coalition to Step the Use of Child Soldiers
Sri Lanka: End of conflict brings no respite to children from human rights abuses