October 28, 2009 Comments Off on Aussie Cameras linked to Tamil arrests
Surveillance cameras at Colombo Airport paid for by the Australian Government have been linked to a spate of extra-judicial arrests.
Reports of detentions at the airport are driving Sri Lankan Tamils to flee the country in boats rather than by air, a well-placed official says.
A prominent Tamil MP, Mano Ganesan, said at least 29 people had been detained at the airport this month. A Government official speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the figure and said 11 had been released.
Mr Ganesan said no notification had been given to the families of those detained. ”These CCTV cameras are being used to monitor the movement of Tamil people. Through the cameras they identify suspects and then the policemen are accosting people. No one knows if they will be able to catch their flight.” More
October 17, 2009 Comments Off on Blog post on PM Rudd
Taken from the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice blog :
The Australian Government says it enjoys ‘warm’ bilateral relations with Sri Lanka.
Does this mean that Mr Rudd’s Government has used the good relationship between the two countries to make sure Colombo hears a clear “let the near quarter of a million people in the camps go”? After all, even the mild mannered UN has now called for this.
According to TamilNet, the answer is no. It quotes senior Australian officials as saying “Australia is reluctant to call for a closure of these camps and release of the innocent IDPs as soon as possible“.
Rather, it turns out that the Government is using Australian tax dollars to pay for leading ad agency, Saatchi and Saatchi, to help scare off potential asylum seekers to Australia.
Using state of the art “social control” tactics, the campaign uses “street drama to take its message directly to the people. Actors will play people smugglers, and warn locals their efforts to escape from Sri Lanka will end in disappointment.”
9news reports that Catholic Churches are also being targeted, with literature and pamphlets being distributed around parishes warning asylum seekers they will not be welcome in Australia. The push has been dubbed the “Stay the Bloody Hell Away” campaign by media, in reference to Tourism Australia’s much-maligned “Where the Bloody Hell Are You?” campaign.
Saatchi and Saatchi can be expected to do something clever, creative and certainly not cheap. But how effective will this campaign be?
March 7, 2009 Comments Off on Over 1000 Tamils Rally in Melbourne
SBS TV News covers SL Conflict & Melbourne Rally
7 March 2009 – Over 1000 Tamils rally in Melbourne, Australia
Click here for more pictures
February 12, 2009 Comments Off on Australian Senate
Australian Senator Bob Brown moves a motion, which was passed in Senate on 10 February 2009.
Senator BOB BROWN (Tasmania—Leader of the Australian Greens) (2.02 pm)—I move:
That the Senate—
(a) expresses its concern about the high number of civilian deaths and injuries that have occurred as a result of people being caught in the crossfire of Sri Lanka’s civil war;
(b) supports calls on the Sri Lankan Government from the United Nations, the Red Cross and Amnesty International to ensure the safety of civilians in wartorn areas and their safe passage out of those areas;
(c) supports calls on the Sri Lankan Government to lift bans on journalists and aid workers entering war
Question agreed to.
February 9, 2009 Comments Off on WSWS reports on Canberra rally on the 5th – more than 3000 attended
Protest outside Australian parliament against Sri Lankan war
More than 1,500 people gathered outside federal parliament in Canberra yesterday, demanding an end to the Sri Lankan government’s brutal military offensive in the north of the island. The protest was larger than expected, with hundreds travelling from Sydney and Melbourne and some from as far away as Adelaide in South Australia.
Demonstrators included large numbers of young Tamil people, women and entire families, as well factory employees and labourers, who had taken time off work. Dozens carried placards, some with graphic images: bomb-strafed hospitals; children lying on hospital beds, their limbs amputated; villages and homes ransacked and torched.
February 7, 2009 Comments Off on Surge in media reporting
The participants of this campaign appreciate efforts media outlets are making to report on the ground realities of the Vanni.
Because of the restrictions placed by the Sri Lankan government it has been impossible for an independent assessment of the human suffering.
However, SBS has recently interviewed a Tamil Tiger representative, who has spoken about the civilians living within the conflict zone.
We recognize that this too is another defined point of view, but the important thing is that we are able to hear all points of view, including and importantly that of the civilians – the innocent victims of this conflict.
As difficult a task it may be, we urge media outlets to find a way to contact these civilians caught in the conflict zones or those currently in detention centres in government held areas, to give their story to the rest of the world.
February 5, 2009 Comments Off on Aussie House of Reps discussion on SL conflict
Mr Stephen Smith
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Statement to House on Situation in Sri Lanka
– Over recent weeks and months, the Australian government has consistently stated that its strong view remains that Sri Lanka’s conflict cannot be resolved through military means alone.
– Australia considers a political solution to be essential for longterm peace in a country which has suffered so long from bitter conflict.
– Earlier today I announced that Australia will contribute $5 million in additional humanitarian assistance to those affected in the north of Sri Lanka. This is in addition to the $4 million in food aid Australia recently announced for Sri Lanka through the World Food Program.
– We reiterate our call for a political solution to this conflict. The long-term security and prosperity of Sri Lanka will only be achieved through a political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of all Sri Lankans.
Script – visit page 623
Shadow Minister for Infrastruction and COAG
Statement to House
– In my previous role as shadow minister for foreign affairs for the coalition I became acutely aware of this ongoing conflict taking place in Sri Lanka, a civil conflict which has been raging since July 1983 following the most destructive explosion of communal rioting in the history of that island nation—period in Sri Lanka’s history commonly referred to as Black July’.
– The coalition welcomes any well-targeted measures that extend humanitarian assistance to those innocent victims of this conflict and helps facilitate both parties following the path of a sustainable peace agreement.
– The lessons of history confirm that a political solution is the only effective way to end the violence, resolve the conflict and provide a durable peace in Sri Lanka. The coalition joins the Australian government in calling for peaceful resolution to this conflict as soon as possible for the sake of all the citizens of Sri Lanka.
Script – visit page 625