Sri Lanka envoy rejects allegations

18 October 2011 05:55 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sri Lanka's High Commissioner has accused human rights groups and jurists of being pawns of a well-funded and sophisticated Tamil lobby, but claimed allegations that he may have committed war crimes will not damage relations between his country and Australia.

In an interview with The Age, Thisara Samarasinghe also cast himself as a uniter of the Sinhalese and Tamil communities in Australia, claiming that he devoted as much time and attention in his role to the two groups.

The Age revealed this week that the federal police are considering a brief that suggests Mr. Samarasinghe and other Sri Lankan government figures should be investigated for war crimes allegedly committed in Sri Lanka's civil war. Mr. Samarasinghe is explicitly named in the International Commission of Jurists' submission being evaluated by the AFP. The commission's Australian section is headed by former NSW Supreme Court justice and attorney-general John Dowd. Although Mr. Samarasinghe would not comment directly on Mr. Dowd's motivations for preparing the brief, an adviser to the High Commissioner said Mr. Dowd was a long-time Tamil sympathiser and could not be considered unbiased.However, Mr. Samarasinghe said human rights groups and other pro-Tamil campaigners were being manipulated by the Tamil diaspora in Australia. Mr. Dowd declined to comment when contacted by The Age.

Mr. Samarasinghe also denied that he represented the majority Sinhalese ethnic group in Australia, rather than the Sri Lankan community as a whole. (Source: WAtoday)

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