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Suspension of SL from Commonwealth: Australia's Greens

20 September 2011 04:51 am - 7     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Australia's Greens will launch the first major challenge to Sri Lanka's Commonwealth membership today when the party calls for its suspension pending a full investigation into allegations of war crimes committed in the final months of the country's civil war.

The campaign to suspend Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth kicks off tomorrow with a roundtable meeting of human rights activists and jurists involved in collecting evidence for an international war crimes probe to discuss ways of building popular support for the move.
Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he would lobby for a boycott of the proposed Sri Lanka-hosted Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2013 unless it could prove significant progress on human rights. Australia hosts the next CHOGM in Perth late next month.

Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said given the international momentum behind the push for a war crimes probe, she was hopeful of building bipartisan political support for Sri Lanka's suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth.
"We will be looking at whether delegates of the Sri Lankan government may be refused a visa to visit Australia for CHOGM if it can be proved they do not meet the 'character test' and 'public criteria test'."

Similar lobbying for Sri Lanka's suspension was occurring in Canada, she said.

A Greens Senate motion in July calling for an investigation of war crimes allegations against the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tigers received unanimous support.

International Commission of Jurists Australia member John Dowd -- a QC and former NSW attorney-general -- said the point of the campaign was to "stop the exoneration of Sri Lanka and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam from the crimes that have occurred".
"If Sri Lanka is used as a host, it ignores the fact that war crimes have been committed. The Commonwealth has to realise it can't keep being polite when one of its members is guilty of (such) crimes."

The Sri Lankan government is inching closer to a possible international inquiry after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon referred a damning independent report on alleged human rights abuses and war crimes to the Human Rights Council.

The report concluded the government was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians in a final offensive against Tamil separatists in 2009 after government troops shelled a declared "no-fire zone". Colombo has consistently denied the allegations. It also found the Tigers used civilians as human shields, shot those trying to flee LTTE-held territory and forcibly recruited child soldiers.
Pakistan was suspended from the Commonwealth in 1999 following the military overthrow of the civilian government and again in 2007. Fiji was suspended in 2000 and again in 2006 after coups. (The Australian)


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  • RAJIV Wednesday, 21 September 2011 05:58 AM

    A very bad stage in SL history. Which i would say after Independence has only gone down the tube. Government after government have sold SL to various countries and finally we have also managed to be accused of WC and HR violations. SL economy depends on international community in terms of imports, tourism and aid. All SL citizens & patriots who say to hell with Australia we can manage beware that this is the start of a huge economic take on SL and we will not be able to last for long fighting all of the international community. Who are we protecting. Think

    ajAJ Tuesday, 20 September 2011 06:26 AM

    Good move. must be.

    Kotta-Uda Tuesday, 20 September 2011 08:48 AM

    What War Crimes, the SL armed forces went to war, chemical weapons in one hand, human rights charter on the other hand? what's the commotion all about?

    AJ Tuesday, 20 September 2011 08:51 AM

    Good. thanks auss

    lionheart Wednesday, 21 September 2011 05:28 AM

    Hi Greens,

    Be ready to welcome all Australian enterprises who are doing business in SL as thier terms too shall be terminated. The visa's for the CEO's of the company should also be cancelled. Lets see how your already struggling economy could stomach that Australia....

    sumith Wednesday, 21 September 2011 05:31 AM

    Cancel visas for all Australians doing business in SL and ask them to pack off...very simple straight forward theory...after all we dont benefit from thier businesses here.

    anjana Wednesday, 21 September 2011 05:25 AM

    What has the commonwealth given us to-date? What has it even done for itself? The time wasted there could be put to good use over here....Let the greens go fly their common wealth kite...


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