Tamils continue to be tortured in SL

November 8, 2011 Comments Off on Tamils continue to be tortured in SL

Channel 4 – Sri Lanka ‘still torturing’ Tamils

Sri Lanka’s civil war ended with “credible” evidence that war crimes were committed. Now Channel 4 News can reveal mounting evidence that the government is still torturing Tamil prisoners.

As a Tamil refugee commits suicide, former Aust. diplomat criticises ASIO

November 8, 2011 Comments Off on As a Tamil refugee commits suicide, former Aust. diplomat criticises ASIO

ABC Unleashed – Time to clear up some security clearance doubts

The security clearance industry is just that – an industry.

In theory and more often in practice the more sophisticated a society the more efficient and streamlined is the process for obtaining a security clearance.

Record keeping – births, deaths and marriages – school, trade and university qualifications, police records, military service records and media interventions, mentions and appearances, all assist in building a profile. Couple this with an efficient filing and retrieval system and obtaining a security clearance should be neither difficult nor lengthy.

Where things start to unravel is when some or many of the prerequisites listed above are not kept on file or are missing from file. Add to this sloppy record keeping and matters become a bit hit or miss. Further add in corruption and the process ceases to function…

Bruce Haigh is a political commentator and retired diplomat who served in Sri Lanka.

SMH Opinion Editorial – Vaunted values too slow to save neglected son from fatal despair

An open letter to ‘Shooty’, who committed suicide in Villawood detention centre last week.

Dear ‘Shooty’,

I’ve just watched our Prime Minister talking about shared Commonwealth values in Perth. My mind turned at once to you and your solitary, late-night death in Villawood detention centre last week…

…At CHOGM, the high table of Commonwealth values, Sri Lanka went un-punished for atrocities against Tamils. But even when the Tamil human-shield civilians were being blasted at the end of the Sri Lankan war between the government and the Tigers, we all knew some people like you would inevitably come to Australia. Good old John Dowd, who is head of our local chapter of the International Commission of Jurists, had already called for the trial of the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia for war crimes against your people. This just cry, like most just cries these days, has penetrated the stratosphere and vanished into space.

Amnesty International has reported death and torture of those asylum seekers returned to Sri Lanka. Of course, none of those accusations made it to the high table of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Mateship. The only person who said anything of note at CHOGM, anything that tried to push out the envelope of concern, was the Queen…

Tom Keneally, AO, is the Booker prize-winning author of Schindler’s Ark. ‘Shooty’ committed suicide in Villawood detention centre last week.

SL HR issues continue to be discussed post CHOGM

November 8, 2011 Comments Off on SL HR issues continue to be discussed post CHOGM

The Australian Opinion Editorial – Commonwealth should unite on human rights

…The second important issue for the meeting concerned the civil war in Sri Lanka and whether the government and the Tamils had committed war crimes in the conflict’s final years. The question was virtually ignored. A UN Human Rights Commission report suggests substantial evidence of war crimes by the government and the Tamil Tigers, especially in the final two to three years of the conflict. A separate independent report by the International Crisis Group came to much the same conclusion. Indeed, there is sufficient evidence to justify an international inquiry into the actions of both sides, potentially leading to indictments before the International Criminal Court.

But the Commonwealth leaders suggested the matter should be managed bilaterally, rather than by the organisation as a whole.

This failure to debate what happened in Sri Lanka may have consequences for the Commonwealth down the line. Indeed, several weeks ago Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke strongly against the lack of action in Sri Lanka, and indicated that if the next Commonwealth meeting were held there, as planned, he would not attend. He may not be the only leader to take such a stand when the time comes…

Malcolm Fraser was prime minister from 1975 to 1983.

SMH Opinion Editorial – Politics has no place when it comes to crimes against humanity

…Last week Attorney-General Robert McClelland halted the possibility of the arrest and charging of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and in my view undermined similar ”citizens arrests” of individuals against whom it could be said there is a prima facie case of crimes against humanity.

Over the course of the past two months not only Australia, but Canada and Britain have stymied the progress of such arrests. McClelland took less than 24 hours to refuse to allow charges to be filed against Rajapaksa despite the fact that the person laying the charges was Jegan Waran, a 63-year-old man who claimed to have direct evidence of war crimes being committed against the Tamil people during the country’s recent civil war.

McClelland says that Rajapaksa has diplomatic immunity. We don’t know whether there were other reasons but Australia does have an important relationship with Sri Lanka, on whom it depends for co-operation to stop asylum seekers leaving that country. That relationship may have had some impact on the decision.

While McClelland was busy with his red pen at the same time, in the Canadian province of British Columbia, Attorney-General Shirley Bond blocked a lawsuit, brought by the Canadian Centre for International Justice and the Centre for Constitutional Rights, which sought to prosecute former US president George Bush under Canada’s criminal law for crimes of torture allegedly committed during the Iraq War…

…It is doubtful that any of them would have prevented legal action against any senior member of the Gaddafi regime had they landed in their jurisdiction. That is why their actions smack of hypocrisy and blatant political self interest.

The prosecution of crimes against humanity, however, should never be subjected to a political interest test. If there is a prima face or arguable case against Bush, Rajapaksa or Israeli government officials then governments have no business in interfering to prevent the operation of the criminal law by the independent judicial system.

One global elder statesman who would be cheering McClelland on for his actions last week would be Henry Kissinger, an opponent of the idea of universal jurisdiction for crimes against humanity. ”Universal jurisdiction risks creating universal tyranny – that of judges,” Kissinger wrote in 2001. And long may that remain the case.

Greg Barns is a barrister and National President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

The Australian – CHOGM memorable but not meaningful

Over 130 media reports in a fortnight on Sri Lankan war crimes and CHOGM

November 8, 2011 Comments Off on Over 130 media reports in a fortnight on Sri Lankan war crimes and CHOGM

The below list of media coverage is only a fraction of what we have managed to collate over the past fortnight. There have been reports, especially radio and television, which are not available readily online and hence are not included but will be archived on our website in the near future.

The media craze that exploded in Australia in the lead up to the CHOGM has shown us that although world leaders will play politics on the issue of human rights, the Australian media and public will give issues such as accountability for war crimes and restoration of justice the importance they deserve.

In the face of mounting criticism, in failing to convince the world that it is not guilty, the Sri Lankan government has resorted to confuse the world through propaganda which aims to defame, discredit and distract those who are bold enough to step up and speak out against the Sri Lankan regime. These actions of a desperate regime are indicative of how low this pathetic government will stoop to, and are a measure of the success of our work.

The Tamil people in the North-East of the island of Sri Lanka have no rights, no freedom and no voice. It is our responsibility to stay strong, stay positive and most importantly stay focused on what the job at hand is.

Public Relations Team
Australian Tamil Congress

30 October

2SER FM – Sri Lanka war crimes claim

30 October

SMH Opinion Editorial – Human rights inaction ‘a disgrace’

Radio New Zealand – Amnesty wants CHOGM meeting shifted from Sri Lanka

The Conversation – Devil in the discretion? Experts on the CHOGM 2011 communique

SMH – Sri Lanka pitches for Games over breakfast

AFP – Britain urges Sri Lanka to make progress on rights by 2013

News.com.au – Sri Lanka spruiks the 2013 CHOGM

29 October

SMH Opinion Editorial – See no evil is Australia’s way on war crimes

The Age Opinion Editorial – Crew arranges deckchairs on stricken empire liner

SMH – Gillard double-crossed over Games bid

The Australian – CBD shut down as protesters march into Perth

SMH – Sri Lanka outflanks Gillard on Games bid

Perth Now – Take CHOGM off Sri Lanka, says ex-PM

28 October

Channel 10 News – CHOGM Protests

The Age – Sri Lanka spurns war crime claims

SMH – Tamil protesters want Rajapaksa arrested

Herald Sun – Tamils want Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrested

ABC TV Lateline – Queen welcomes 54 countries to CHOGM

Al Jazeera – Commonwealth’s relevance in question

The Star – Taking a stand on Sri Lanka

Radio Netherlands – Sri Lanka issue divides Commonwealth

Radio Netherlands – UNSG calls for more accountability on Sri Lanka human rights

AFP – Protest peaceful at Commonwealth summit

27 October

ABC Drum Unleashed – War crimes in Australia’s too-hard basket?

The Australian – Tamils still ‘enslaved’ in northern Sri Lanka

SMH Opinion Editorial – Sri Lankan rights abuses top the bill as leaders talk

Amnesty International – Commonwealth leaders must stop Sri Lanka hosting key summit

Australia Network News – Global concerns

Reuters – Commonwealth ministers stumble over human rights

ABC News – Gillard raises human rights concerns with Sri Lanka

ABC Radio Connect Asia – Australian PM raises allegations with Sri Lankan leader

ABC Radio Melbourne – Sri Lanka dealing with war allegations: president

ABC Radio Newcastle – Gillard rules out Sri Lanka CHOGM boycott

The West Australian – Commonwealth values put to test by Sri Lanka

The West Australian – No plans to move 2013 summit from Sri Lanka: Australia

Canberra Times – Gillard raises war crimes allegations

ABC Radio Connect Asia – Sri Lankan spokesman rejects war crimes accusations

The Australian – Push for tougher rights sanctions

The Age – PM pushes hard line on Sri Lanka

The West Australian – No plans to move 2013 summit from Sri Lanka: Australia

Sky News – Next CHOGM in Sri Lanka

The West Australian – Sri Lanka says war crimes allegations ‘propaganda’

ABC TV 7.30 Report – CHOGM report

Toronto Sun – Commonwealth takes steps to beef up human rights monitoring

The Star – How to revive the Commonwealth

SBS News – PM raises human rights concerns with Sri Lanka

26 October

The Australian – Fraser backs call to bar Colombo

Channel 10 News – Sri Lanka accused

NineMSN – New Sri Lanka war-crime evidence: judges

Australia Network News – Australia raises alleged human rights abuses with Sri Lanka

ABC Radio PM Program – Rudd concedes some nations may boycott CHOGM 2013 in Sri Lanka

SBS World News – Tamils maintain CHOGM pressure on Sri Lanka

The Wire – Sri Lankan President avoids war crime indictment (part 1)

The Wire – Sri Lankan President avoids war crime indictment (part 2)

The West Australian – Commonwealth seeks to avoid slide into irrelevance

ABC Radio Connect Asia – Sri Lanka govt under fire over Tamil national question

Perth Now – PM raises war crimes with Sri Lanka

ABC Lateline – Gillard questions Sri Lanka’s investigation of war crimes

The Conversation – Why the Commonwealth must take action against Sri Lankan war crimes

ABC TV News – Sri Lanka spokesman rejects human rights allegations

ABC South West Victoria – War crimes case decision upsets Tamils

West Australian – War crimes heat on Sri Lanka

Adelaide Now – Leaders split on human rights abuses

Blacktown Sun – Reform push sets PM for human rights showdown

Perth Now – Sri Lanka to host despite abuse record

International Business Times – Attorney General Rejects War Crimes Charges, Cites Rajapaksa’s Diplomatic Immunity

ABC News – War crimes case decision upsets Tamils

SMH – Fraser calls for war crimes investigation into battle with Tamil Tigers

NineMSN – Democracy commissioner debated in Perth

Reuters – Human rights to test Commonwealth leaders

Australia Network News – War crimes

News.com.au – Next CHOGM in Sri Lanka despite concerns

ABC News – War crimes case decision upsets Tamils

Deccan Chronicle – Tamil Aus community criticises govt decision to stop cases against Rajapakse

ABC TV 7.30 Report – Leaders descend for CHOGM

ABC Radio Connect Asia – Australia rejects calls to charge Sri Lanka’s visiting president

Globe and Mail – Harper’s stand on Sri Lanka is just not cricket

The Telegraph – Commonwealth leaders to discuss succession and Sri Lanka at Perth summit

AFP – Sri Lanka says war crimes allegations ‘propaganda’

25 October

The Australian – War crimes case against leader

The Age – Sri Lankan President accused in Australian court

ABC Radio PM Program – War crimes accusations gather pace as Sri Lankan President arrives

ABC News – Australian accuses Sri Lankan president of war crimes

ANU News – Diplomatic Immunity could be tested for war crimes: expert

ABC Lateline – Attorney-General kills war crimes charges

ABC Radio On Air Highlights – Australian AG vetoes Sri Lanka war crimes case

ABC Radio On Air Highlights – Australia rejects calls to charge Sri Lanka’s visiting president

NineMSN – Wait for report on Sri Lankan crimes: Rudd

Australia Network News – Commonwealth gathering

ABC Radio News – Two views of Sri Lanka’s war

ABC News – No war crimes case against Sri Lanka leader

SMH – Sri Lankan envoy welcomes crimes case halt

Reuters – Australia mounts pressure on Sri Lanka over war crimes

The West Australian – Sri Lanka calls Australian war crimes case ‘hilarious’

The Australian – Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa enjoys immunity in Australia

The West Australian – Australia presses Sri Lanka over war crimes claims

The Conversation – Experts respond: indicting the Sri Lankan president for war crimes

The West Australian – Sri Lankan files war crimes brief in Australia

International Business Times – War Crimes Charges Filed Against Visiting Sri Lankan Leader

Herald Sun – Arunachalam Jegatheeswaran files war crimes indictment against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa

ABC Drum Unleashed – Time is of the essence

Green Left Weekly – War criminal Rajapaksa to visit Perth

Canberra Times – Do the right thing and have Samarasinghe recalled

The Conversation – Experts respond: indicting the Sri Lankan president for war crimes

SMH – Govt must OK Sri Lanka president’s case:PM

NDTV – War crimes charges filed against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa

SBS World News – No prosecution for Sri Lanka president

24 October

ABC TV Lateline – Australian accuses Sri Lanka’s president of war crimes

ABC Radio Connect Asia – Australian accuses Sri Lanka’s president of war crimes

Reuters – Sri Lankan Tamils press for justice

The Vancouver Sun – Canada rallies behind Commonwealth human-rights reports

AFP – Australia presses Sri Lanka over war crimes claims

Toronto Sun – Harper to champion human rights at Perth summit

23 October

Green Left Weekly – War criminal Rajapaksa to visit Perth‎

20 October

BBC Sinhala – CHOGM must deal with war crimes in Sri Lanka – ICJ

19 October

ABC Unleashed – A diplomatic dilemma of the Sri Lankan kind

The Australian – Secrecy and denial are also war crimes

SMH – Commissioner hits back over Tamil war crime claim

Sky News – Greens want Sri Lankan envoy recalled

18 October

SMH – Sri Lanka faces pressure on war crimes claim

The Age – Rudd quizzed over envoy

ABC 7.30 Report – Allegations of Sri Lankan war crimes in the spotlight

ABC Radio PM Program – Human Rights campaigners want Canberra to investigate Sri Lanka war crime allegations

ABC Radio Connect Asia – Australian police examine Sri Lanka war crimes dossier

ABC TV News – Sri Lankan president under investigation

The Wire – Pressure mounts on Sri Lanka over war crimes

NineMSN – Sri Lanka submission a matter of urgency

ABC Radio Sydney – Calls to suspend Sri Lanka from Commonwealth

Independent.UK – Australian police study Sri Lanka ‘war crimes’ dossier

17 October

The Age – Sri Lankan envoy ‘war crimes’

ABC Radio PM Program – AFP considers war crimes investigation against Sri Lankan dipomat

Channel 10 6.30 with George Negus – Sri Lankan war criminals

ABC Radio Sydney – Sri Lankan diplomat named in war crimes brief

ABC Radio Asia Pacific – Australian police examine Sri Lanka war crimes dossier

Reuters – Australia pressured to investigate Sri Lanka envoy for warcrimes

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