Sri Lanka

The Cage
By Gordon Weiss
Picador, 2011

The Cage tells the horrifying story of the final months of the war in Sri Lanka, which ended with the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009.

Gordon Weiss, the former United Nations spokesperson in Sri Lanka, says the war ended in a "bloodbath", including the "wholesale bombardment by government forces of unarmed civilians".

Despite growing international outrage over the Sri Lankan military’s mass killings of over 40,000 Tamil civilians in 2009, the Sri Lankan government is defiantly refusing to heed international demands for an independent investigation into the atrocities. Instead it is escalating a range of discriminatory and repressive policies towards the Tamil people.

Australia’s cricketers should take a principled stand in defence of human rights and justice, and boycott playing with Sri Lanka until the government there conducts itself according to the rules of international society.

A British TV documentary and a United Nations-commissioned report have confirmed long-standing Tamil allegations that the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) committed large-scale war crimes in the course of its May 2009 victory over the pro-independence Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The British government continues to license millions of pounds in arms to the Sri Lankan regime despite suggestions that they may have been used in war crimes, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said on June 15.

New evidence of alleged atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan state in 2009 in its purge of a stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009 emerged this week in a Channel 4 documentary screened in Britain
on June 14.

For more than two decades, until its defeat in 2009, the LTTE fought for an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka's north-east.

The British government continues to license millions of pounds in arms to the Sri Lankan regime despite suggestions that they may have been used in war crimes, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said on June 15.

New evidence of alleged atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan state in 2009 in its purge of a stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009 emerged this week in a Channel 4 documentary screened in Britain
on June 14.

For more than two decades, until its defeat in 2009, the LTTE fought for an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka's north-east.

Hundreds of Australian Tamils and supporters gathered for an evening vigil in Sydney’s Martin Place on May 18 to commemorate two years since the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The LTTE had fought a 30-year-long battle for an independent Tamil homeland in the north-east of Sri Lanka.

In April, a leaked United Nations report said the Sri Lankan government had committed serious war crimes as the war came to a close, which led to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians.

The following statement was released by the Socialist Alliance in Australia. For more information, visit www.socialist-alliance.org .

* * *

Two years ago, a war without witness was executed by the state against the Tamil people in the island of Sri Lanka.

In September 2008, after ordering all United Nations personnel, non-government organisations and media out of the Vanni region, the Sri Lankan government embarked on a vicious military campaign.

While it informed the world it was fighting the Tamil Tiger rebels and was following a “zero civilian casualty” policy, photographs, video footage and phone conversations with our relatives in the war zone told us a different story.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) member of the Sri Lankan parliament M. A. Sumanthiran, addressed a meeting organised by the Australian Tamil Congress on March 26.

He said that even though Tamils in Sri Lanka are a nation with the right to self-determination, the formation of a separate state is not a realistic option because of the opposition of the “international community”.

Article 1 of the United Nations charter speaks of the right of self-determination of peoples. However, in the 1960s the UN General Assembly put some restrictions on this right.

A number of Wikileaks revelations have shown that US officials, despite their public stance, have been well aware of corruption and human rights abuses of regimes it has supported. In some cases, the US funded these regimes and trained their military.

* * *

Indonesia

A leaked September 2009 US cable indicates that US officials are aware that in West Papua, the Indonesian military (TNI) are responsible for serious human rights abuses and corruption.

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