A forum took place on 16 June 2009 at NSW Parliament, Sydney and 17 June 2009 at Federal Parliament, Canberra. Details of the forum, the guest speakers and the video of their speeches follow. We encourage you to view them.
Human Rights in Sri Lanka and Australia’s Role
Hon. John Dowd AO QC
Hon. John Dowd AO QC is the President of the Australian Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and chair of the Executive Committee of ICJ Geneva. He has been on ICJ missions to Hong Kong, East Timor and Nepal, and led the Australian Government Delegation to Palestine to monitor the Palestinian Legislative Council Elections. A former NSW Attorney-General and Supreme Court judge, John Dowd is currently the Chancellor of the Southern Cross University and recently elected president of ActionAid Australia (formerly Austcare).
Dr. John Whitehall
Dr. John Whitehall is a paediatrician and Associate Professor in Public Health at James Cook University. He has done voluntary medical work in Sri Lanka in 2004 and 2005, and in 2006 was a finalist for Senior Australian of the Year for his work raising relief funds for victims of the Asian tsunami. John Whitehall is the co-author of the book War and Medicine, a collection of short stories of the experiences of medical practioners in NorthEast Sri Lanka.
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Mr. Bruce Haigh
Mr. Bruce Haigh is a political commentator and author and a former Australian diplomat.Having joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1972, he has extensive experience in South Asia, the Middle East and South Africa, including as Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Counsellor in the Australian Embassy in Pakistan. As First Secretary in the Australian Embassy in South Africa, Bruce Haigh initiated Embassy contact with members of the black South African resistance and helped a number of political activists to escape South Africa.
Speech by Mr. Bruce Haigh
Speech by Dr. John Whitehall
Speech by Hon. John Dowd
Background on the Tamils’ struggle for independence, the history behind the Sri Lankan conflict.
Question and Answer session by the panel