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Call to boycott Sri Lankan cricket tour

10 December 2012 01:57 am - 40     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Critics of Sri Lanka's human rights record are calling for a boycott of the national cricket team's tour of Australia and say the Boxing Day Test will be an opportunity to protest.

Two groups have called for a boycott ahead of the first Test in Hobart this week, prompting a scathing rebuke from Sri Lankan high commissioner Thisara Samarasinghe.

Claiming inspiration from the former anti-apartheid sporting sanctions against South Africa, the Tamil Refugee Council and the Refugee Action Collective in Victoria are pushing for the boycott.

''There will be a stain of injustice that won't wash out of the cricket whites if the human rights abuses of the ruling Sri Lankan regime pass unremarked,'' the groups say in an open letter.

Mr Samarasinghe branded their call unworthy of attention, saying of the Sri Lankan team: ''They have not come from the back door. They have been welcomed by your government and everybody in the system, so don't let this great country be spoiled by people like this.''

The call has provoked a mixed reaction from refugee advocates, with some arguing that the Boxing Day Test represents an opportunity to get information to a mass audience, and they plan to distribute leaflets attacking Sri Lanka's treatment of Tamils to cricket fans.

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser has called for an independent assessment of the situation in Sri Lanka, including whether members of the Tamil minority are being persecuted and how those sent back from Australia after coming here by boat are being treated.

If an inquiry found that Tamils were still being persecuted and if verifiable commitments were not given that this would stop, ''then the international community has got to take action'', Mr Fraser told Fairfax Media.

The Australian Tamil Congress's Bala Vigneswaren supported the boycott call, saying the Australian Cricket Board should apply the same standard to Sri Lanka that was applied to South Africa when that country was boycotted.

The boycott call came as opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison announced that he and foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop would travel to Sri Lanka for meetings with government officials at the end of January.

''We'll also go up and visit the Tamil areas in northern Sri Lanka and see things on the ground there,'' Mr Morrison told Sky News on Sunday.

Mr Samarasinghe has previously dismissed claims of continued persecution of Sri Lanka's Tamil minority, describing those who have attempted to come by boat as ''economic opportunists''. Those talking of boycotts had a vested interest and should not be taken seriously, he said.

The two groups defended their action. ''Sporting boycotts have been important in building international pressure against cruel regimes and human rights abuses before. There is no good reason Sri Lanka should escape this pressure,'' they said. (SMH)

  Comments - 40

  • Confused Monday, 10 December 2012 07:35 AM

    Sri Lankans in Australia!!??. I thought most Sri Lankans have emigrated to Australia & have pledged allegiance to the Australian flag like most other immigrants from other countries.
    If they support Sri Lanka they are traitors and should be kicked out from Australia after all they enjoy all the privileges eat drink & defecate there!!

    lunta-muus Monday, 10 December 2012 05:59 AM

    respect brother! ......from a singhala guy

    kane Monday, 10 December 2012 06:09 AM

    It is a fact and good reply to all those support the communalism in SL.

    DireStraits Monday, 10 December 2012 06:12 AM

    Go Murali Go!

    Shashika Monday, 10 December 2012 06:24 AM

    Proud of u brother!!!! really really proud of you!!!!!

    Bandu Monday, 10 December 2012 06:22 AM

    We salute you for your bold statement and we all should live as friends and support SRI LANKA. Come in thousands to MCG on boxing day to teach a good lesson to the few Tamils representing diaspora.

    conty Monday, 10 December 2012 06:35 AM

    Hey, Hold your your tongue, support your country before I call you a traitor.

    kane Monday, 10 December 2012 07:09 AM

    I am a Tamil and i don't support you. Sports is different from politics and the CJ's case is not appropriate here. Please do not live in the past.

    anura Monday, 10 December 2012 07:25 AM

    Aiyo, what is wrong with pro LTTE Tamil sympathisers all over the world ?. They always decide to bark at the wrong tree. Why are you guys so bitter about the annihilated LTTE and Prabhakaran ? It is all over now my friends. Enjoy Cricket now.

    Ravi P Monday, 10 December 2012 04:44 AM

    I am a Tamil in Australia and I going to MCG to support my team the Lankans. Please don’t generalise all Tamils as LTTE supporters. Some of us are very patriotic when it comes to our mother country than any body else

    Ravi Seneviratne Monday, 10 December 2012 07:44 AM

    Dear Ravi , Thank you ,you are a realistic person , having said that , Roger's comment on CJ is also vibrating around the world. One foot forward , ten feet backwards.

    sach Monday, 10 December 2012 07:57 AM

    Pls come up with a sensible arguement and not with some random words and acts by th gov.

    Bagalawathie Monday, 10 December 2012 10:03 AM

    The Tamils in Australia do not love Australia. They don't love any country. and they are a selfish ungrateful lot.

    lgi Monday, 10 December 2012 10:22 AM

    very fair unbaised comment; 100% agreed

    janaka Monday, 10 December 2012 02:56 PM

    Anyhow SL team will Lose the match in 3 days. It will be one side game. Don't waist your time going to MCG , Hobart and Sdyne

    Saman Tuesday, 11 December 2012 08:00 AM

    Like crying wolf, if you keep looking for sympathy as a justification for your actions, you will someday be left standing alone when you really need help...

    LF Tuesday, 11 December 2012 08:32 AM

    Don't forget that the Sri Lankan VIce Captain is from the so called minority community and also a Roman Catholic.

    Pragmatic Porak Tuesday, 11 December 2012 12:36 PM

    Win or Lose, we still booze

    Free Thinker Monday, 10 December 2012 03:58 AM

    Its sad to see such opportunists in action. Especially when we are talking about a sport where a Tamil player has been admired loved and treated as a national treasure by all Sri Lankans alike, and when cricketers like Mahela and Sanga take extra effort to help people in Tamil Majority areas by funding Cancer hospitals and other charity.
    Shame on the Tamil Diaspora who supports these things.

    bushel Monday, 10 December 2012 02:47 AM

    Let us boycott Ausstralia and come back home for giving room for such talks.

    saman Monday, 10 December 2012 03:07 AM

    I expect nothing but a packed MCG for the Boxing Day Test mach giving the diaspora diaspora guys and their friends a finger!

    PoliticallyIncorrect Monday, 10 December 2012 03:22 AM

    yea right - the only good thing that will happen out of this is if it is called off SL will avoid getting beaten. YAWN.

    Coconut Donkey Monday, 10 December 2012 03:36 AM

    Hands Off Cricket!!! - Sri Lankan Tamil.

    Dammika Monday, 10 December 2012 03:39 AM

    For sure Bushel Australia will never cancel this tour. It is not Australia who is boycotting .... It is Pro LTTE lobbies who are forcing the Aussie Govt to do so. Sri Lankan's in Australia please stand up for this. Boxing day Test mach is the most important match played in front of a huge Sri Lankan expat crowd

    LeeCA Monday, 10 December 2012 03:36 AM

    Impeach Apathe.

    Samson Monday, 10 December 2012 03:42 AM

    MR, now again come and help us.

    Esika Monday, 10 December 2012 03:49 AM

    Do not take politics into Sports. Let the sports be neutral and enjoyed by sports loving people in every country. We love sports and not protests.

    Hardball Monday, 10 December 2012 03:55 AM

    Very good and sensible move. Thanks.

    DireStraits Monday, 10 December 2012 02:31 AM

    Ballo Burathi

    Hardball Monday, 10 December 2012 03:57 AM

    As what we are seeing in Sri Lanka, dogs are better declined than most Sri Lankas. Dogs are great animals.

    Eco Monday, 10 December 2012 04:00 AM

    anyway Lanka will loose :)

    Kanthie W Monday, 10 December 2012 04:06 AM

    Grooming caps who wera black bands while playing...!! may be the reason for grooming another Sinhala Buddhist captian without condidering seniority or talant ?????

    Kanthie W Monday, 10 December 2012 04:18 AM

    This is uncharitable political....

    roger Monday, 10 December 2012 04:22 AM

    opportunistic sinhala nation kept Murali for his talents in sport it is nothing to admire the tamil nationalism please keep your words to your self, why are you so in denial of the wrong doings by you Govt and majority of Sinhala Communities to Tamils. Look even the CJ dont have a chance what else to answer??????

    BudinOz Monday, 10 December 2012 04:25 AM

    There will be more Sri Lankan national flags flying at MCG on Boxing Day than LTTE flags I'm so sure.

    sena Monday, 10 December 2012 04:30 AM

    In a lighter meaning... Lets hire some people from SL and fill the stadium in support of our match in Aussi. Few planes will also be needed and the bath packets ha ha

    PoliticallyIncorrect Monday, 10 December 2012 04:28 AM

    well said - sensible people will realise what the diaspora is all about hopefully.

    V Monday, 10 December 2012 04:35 AM

    Tamil Diaspora love SL cricket Its not against SL cricket at all, its all about show the hatefulness to SL gov the way they treat Tamil in SL post war. remember Jaffna university incident recently, it shows the gov look to slay Tamils rather than treat them as equal. then how you expect Tamil Diaspora to react?

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