Shock as Aust PM continues to cover for Sri Lanka

May 9, 2011 Comments Off on Shock as Aust PM continues to cover for Sri Lanka

The Age – Tamil anger at new envoy


Australian Tamil Congress – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE on 9 May 2011 –

Tamils Hurt by Appointment of Alleged War Criminal as Diplomat,

Shocked at Government’s Continuing Silence on Sri Lankan War Crimes


The Australian Tamil community is shocked to hear that the appointment of an alleged war criminal as Sri Lanka’s high commissioner has been approved by the Australian government.

Admiral Samarasinghe was a former Sri Lankan Navy commander. A report released a fortnight ago by a UN Expert Advisory Panel found allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka to be credible, and called for an independent international investigation into war crimes in the island. Sri Lanka however has vehemently opposed such an investigation. A fortnight later, Australia is yet to comment on the report.

The UN Expert Advisory Panel report outlines several war crimes, one of which includes the deliberate shelling near ICRC ships that were attempting to rescue injured civilians.

Despite their counterparts in other western nations welcoming the findings of the report and backing the Panel’s recommendations, to date neither Prime Minister Julia Gillard nor Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd have commented on the report.

“We are hurt and disappointed at Australia’s position on the issue of war crimes in Sri Lanka,” says Dr Sam Pari, spokesperson for the Australian Tamil Congress. “Sri Lanka’s human rights abuses are resulting in a humanitarian crisis at our doorstep with thousands of refugees arriving on our shores. If the US, UK and other western nations can comment on the Panel’s report, then why after a fortnight is our government silent when this issue affects us the most?” she asks.

Since the war ended in May 2009, Admiral Samarsinghe is the third former military officer to be posted overseas on a diplomatic mission.

Media contact:

Dr. Sam Pari, Australian Tamil Congress – 0433 428 967


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