Australia Campaigns 2009

Here is a list of the campaign that we ran in 2009.

Sri Lankan Crisis Statement Campaign I, II  – Complete

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300km for 300,000 lives – Complete

Seran Sribalan and Vishna Sivaraj, two young Australians walked 300 km from Sydney to Canberra to create awareness of the plight of 300,000 civilians being forcibly detained in military controlled internment camps in the island of Sri Lanka.

Seran Sribalan and Vishna Sivaraj had family members detained within the military run internment camps. They walked for 9 days, passing through Sydney city and country towns en route to Federal Parliament House in Canberra, where the ‘300km for 300,000 lives’ campaign conclude at 12.30pm on Tuesday 18 August. A lunch time discussion took place in Federal Parliament House to coincide with their arrival.

Events were held at each pit stop along the route.

Seran and Vishna appealed to the Ministers of Parliament and Senators they met to urge Australian government to apply more diplomatic pressure upon the Sri Lankan government to ensure the Tamils detained within the camps are released and re-settled back in their own villages.

Both have no professional athletic background and have had no professional training.

For more information on their campaign visit http://www.free300k.wordpress.com

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Fast Unto Action Campaign Part III – Complete

Sutha was one of six hunger strikers who ceased their fast on the seventh day after a DFAT representative assured them Australia would do all it could to push Sri Lanka to enter a cease-fire.

However, since then while Australia has not engaged in any such action, Sutha lost his younger brother who was killed in a Sri Lanka Air Force bombing in the no fire safe zone in Northern Sri Lanka. The news reached him through relatives and Sutha does not even know the date of his brother’s death. He has not spoken to his father, mother or sisters for over 6 months.

Sutha recommenced his hunger strike on 3 May 2009.

He has four demands which they want met through the actions of the Government of Australia, which has the ability to use its diplomatic powers to push the Government of Sri Lanka:

1. to enter an immediate ceasefire with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam;

2. to immediately allow food, medicine and aid into the conflict zone;

3. to allow vital services, including medical services into the conflict zone;

4. and the international community to allow the Tamil people, both in the conflict zone and those indefinitely detained in concentration camps in government-held areas, to decide independently where they wish to reside.

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Fast Unto Action Campaign Part II – Complete

In the first three months of this year alone, over 3500 Tamil civilians have been killed and over 12,000 Tamil causalities resulted due to the Government of Sri Lanka’s bombing of hospitals and civilian targets both inside and outside its self declared safe zone. There is evidence of the Sri Lankan Army’s use of cluster bombs, white phosphorous and chemical weapons in these attacks. They have also banned medicine, aid and food from entering the conflict zone, effectively using starvation as a weapon of war. These breach international law and are war crimes.

Three young Tamil Australians are to embark on a hunger strike at 5pm on Saturday 11 April 2009.

They have four demands which they want met through the actions of the Government of Australia, which has the ability to use its diplomatic powers to push the Government of Sri Lanka:

1. to enter an immediate ceasefire with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam;

2. to immediately allow food, medicine and aid into the conflict zone;

3. to allow vital services, including medical services into the conflict zone;

4. and the international community to allow the Tamil people, both in the conflict zone and those indefinitely detained in concentration camps in government-held areas, to decide independently where they wish to reside.

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Fast Unto Action Campaign Part I – Complete

A hunger strike was started on the 28th of January, in Sydney’s CBD, to urge the Australian government to support calls for a cease-fire between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and State Armed Forces in Sri Lanka.

Organised by the Australian Tamil Students (ATS), a national coalition of tertiary students, the protest aims to bring light to the intolerable silence and lack of international condemnation to the unfolding genocide in Sri Lanka.

The campaign comes only days after the Sri Lankan military is said to have killed 300 Tamil civilians in an agreed “safety zone”, where government ministers had earlier instructed people to take shelter, promising safe refuge.

The participants are calling on the Australian government to condemn the attacks on civilian populations and support calls for a ceasefire, as aid organisations and some other governments have.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says a quarter of a million are trapped within 250 sq km of intense combat with virtually NO medical care available [27/01/09]:

“Hospitals and ambulances have been hit by shelling and several aid workers have been injured while evacuating the wounded. The violence is preventing the International Committee of the Red Cross from operating in the region,” said ICRC’s Jacques de Maio, further adding that they did not receive security clearance to evacuate 200 critically wounded people, who now face certain death.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre [27/01/09]:

In an official statement said that his government condemned the ongoing war in Sri Lanka which has caused “unacceptable sufferings to the civilians,” in the country.

Former U.S. Deputy Associate Attorney General Bruce Fein [24/01/09]:

“There can be no difference of opinion over the fact that what is happening to Tamils in Sri Lanka is a clear-cut case of genocide.”

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier [22/01/09]:

“They have been completely cut off from international aid for more than 10 days…The most important thing now is to negotiate a ceasefire.”

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