This statement has been submitted on 14 September 2009. Thank you to all the signatories.
An activist helping with the campaign was able to personally meet and hand the statement directly to Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith on Monday 14 September 2009.
This statement was written in late May. Since then points d) and e) need to be updated:
d) Five of the Tamil doctors detained by the Government of Sri Lanka have now been released on conditional bail. We call on the unconditional release of Dr’s Thangamutha Sathiyamoorthy, Veerakaththi Shanmugarajah, Thurairaja Varatharajah, Illancheliyan Pallavan, Sinnathurai Sivapalan and for the where-abouts of the remaining doctors held in detention to be revealed;
e) Support Amnesty International in its call for the release of journalist Mr. J.S. Tissainayagam imprisoned by the Government of Sri Lanka for 20 years.
*** Full Text of Original Statement Launched on 27th May 2009 and Submitted on 14th Sep 2009 ***
We are Australian citizens who share a deep concern about the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka now affecting more than 300,000 people, according to United Nations (UN) estimates.
We call on the Government of Australia to demand the Government of Sri Lanka immediately:
a) give the UN, International Committee of the Red Cross, non-governmental organisations and all local and international media unrestricted access to the Tamil civilians trapped in the former war zone and those indefinitely confined in detention camps for internally displaced people;
b) treat all prisoners of war including members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), former members, suspected combatants, non-combatant cadres and their families according to international law, including the Geneva Conventions, which have been ratified by the Government of Sri Lanka and allow independent international monitors to be part of the Government of Sri Lanka’s screening process;
c) release the over 300,000 Tamils from government controlled concentration camps and allow them to return to their homes;
d) release the three doctors – Dr. T. Varatharajah, Dr. T. Sathyamurthi and Dr. V. Shanmugarajah – who treated hundreds of severely wounded civilians in understaffed makeshift hospitals in the country’s war zones;
e) release journalist Mr. J.S. Tissainayagam detained without charges by the Sri Lankan government since March 7th 2008.
We strongly urge the Government of Australia to support the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s calls for an international independent investigation into alleged war crimes by the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE.
Furthermore, we recognise the Tamils in Sri Lanka have been subject to ethnic discrimination by successive Sri Lankan governments since Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948.
We acknowledge that all people, including the Tamils, have the right to self-determination and must freely determine their political status and pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
We urge the international community to support and facilitate a political solution that addresses the self-determination aspirations of Tamils and protects the human rights of all Sri Lankans.
- Bishop Pat Power, Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, ACT
- Mr. John Pilger, Renowned Australian Journalist, Author and Documentary Filmmaker, NSW
- Ms. Sharan Burrow, President, Australian Council of Trade Unions, VIC
- Mr. Bruce Haigh, former Australian Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, NSW
- Hon. Emeritus Prof. Stuart Rees AO, Director, Sydney Peace Foundation, University of Sydney, NSW
- Hon. Ian Cohen, Member of the Legislative Council, The Greens Party, NSW Parliament, NSW
- Hon. Lee Rhiannon, Member of the Legislative Council, The Greens Party, NSW Parliament, NSW
- Hon. John Kaye, Member of the Legislative Council, The Greens Party, NSW Parliament, NSW
- Prof. Jake Lynch, Assoc. Professor and Director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney, NSW
- Ms. Irene Doutney, Councillor, The Greens Party, City of Sydney, NSW
- Mr. Robert Reed, Barrister-at-Law, QLD
- Mr. John Speight, Executive Chairperson, Campaign for International Co-operation and Disarmament, VIC
- Rev. Richard Wootton AM, Executive Vice Chairperson, Campaign for International Co-operation and Disarmament, VIC
- Prof. Wendy Bacon, Professor of Journalism, University of Technology, NSW
- Assoc. Prof. Damien Kingsbury, Assoc. Director, Centre for Citizenship, Development and Human Rights, Assoc. Head (Research), School of International and Political Studies, Deakin University, VIC
- Mr. Michael Thomson, President University of Sydney Branch, National Tertiary Education Union, NSW
- Prof. Patrick McGorry, Executive Director, OYH Research Centre and Professor of Youth Mental Health, The Univesity of Melbourne, VIC
- Dr. John Whitehall, Paediatrician, QLD
- Prof. Chris Nash, Professor of Journalism, Monash University, Victoria
- Mr. Antony Loewenstein, Independent Journalist and Author, NSW
- Ms. Alison Tate, International Adviser, Australian Council of Trade Unions, VIC
- Mrs. Sonja Karkar, Human Rights Activist, Women for Palestine, VIC
- Dr. Tanveer Ahmed, Psychiatrist and Journalist, NSW
- Dr. Peter Slezak, Program in Cognitive Science, School of History & Philosophy, UNSW, NSW
- Ms. Mary Bluett, President, Australian Education Union Victorian Branch, VIC
- Ms. Ann Taylor, Deputy President, Australian Education Union Victorian Branch, VIC
- Ms. Susan Hopgood, AEU Federal Secretary, VIC
- Ms. Rebecca Hinchey, Public Affairs Co-ordinator, STARRTS, Sydney, NSW
- Ms. Danielle Archer, Young Unionists’ Network Co-ordinator, Deputy Delegate, Victorian Trades Hall Council, Presenter, ‘Solidarity Breakfast’ 3CR, Victoria
- Mr. Kevin Bracken, Maritime Union of Australia, MUA Victoria Branch Secretary President Victorian Trades Hall Council
- Mr. Len Cooper, Communications, Electrical, Plumbing Union Branch Secretary National President.
- Mr. Immanuel Selvaraj, Councillor, NSW
- Mr. Vasee Rajadurai, Councillor, Holroyd City Council, NSW
- Mr. Reggie Verghese, Councillor, NSW
- Rev. Christopher Freestone, NSW
Signatory groups include:
- Socialist Alliance National Executive
- Medical Association for Prevention of War
- People for Equality And Relief in Lanka (PEARL), USA
Non-Australians supportive of the Sri Lankan Crisis Statement include:
- Prof. Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor (retired), Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, author of over 100 books, political commentator and activist, USA
- Prof. Dr. Seemampillai Joseph Emmanuel, President, International Federation of Tamils, Geneva, Switzerland
- Mr. Doug Bandow, American Conservative Defense Alliance and Former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, USA
- Ms. Golzar Selbe, Student B.A. Psychology, M.S. Nonprofit Management, USA
- Dr. Thani Kumar Cheran, Retired Professor, North Carolina, USA
- Dr. Selvi Cheran, North Carolina, Physician, USA
- Ms. Karthy, Accountant, USA
- Ms. Mahes Kumaran, early child care educator, Scarborough, Ontario
- Miss. Bhuvaneshwari Mathiazhagan, Software professional, Bachelor of Engineering, Washington USA
- Mr. Bharath Rengasamy Software Engineer Bachelor of Engineering CA, US
- Mrs. Thilagavathi, Software Professional, CA, USA
- Mr Skandamoorthy Ravishanker, Principal Analyst, Computing, Surrey UK,