Trevor Grant, former cricket writer for The Age, makes the case for boycotting Sri Lankan cricket. Grant maintains the website What's the Score, Sport?. * * * For all its international posturing about human rights these days, Australia has a sordid history of being a denier, or passive follower, rather than a leader in protecting the most vulnerable people in our world. There is one exception, which makes this attitude all the more damning.
A United Nations review into its handling of the Sri Lankan government's war against Tamils in 2009 has revealed the UN deliberately ignored Sri Lanka's huge-scale human rights violations. Up to 50,000 Tamils were killed by Sri Lankan military forces in the final stage of the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and armed Tamil independence groups, the most prominent of which was the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). After the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009, about 300,000 Tamils were forced into prison camps, where mass executions, torture and rape allegedly took place.
More than 100 people attended an October 17 talk by Professor Damien Kingsbury of Deakin University titled “Why are the Tamils fleeing Sri Lanka?”. The meeting was organised by the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project. Kingsbury outlined the history of Sri Lanka. He said that British colonialism created a centralised administration of the previously separate Tamil and Sinhalese areas of the island. After independence in 1948, Sinhalese politicians established a “majoritarian” political system that discriminated against the Tamil minority in terms of language, employment and education.
The Sri Lankan civil war ended in 2009 and in the war’s aftermath there has been a plethora of serious human rights abuses perpetrated by the Sri Lankan government. Some of these abuses include abductions, torture and the murder of journalists and civilians, including women and children.
Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka By Ron Ridenour New Century Book House Chennai, India Available in Australia via www.resistancebooks.com Ron Ridenour's Tamil nation in Sri Lanka is a history of the struggle of Tamils on the island of Sri Lanka for self-determination. Ridenour explains the reasons why many Tamils took up arms to fight for an independent Tamil state. He shows the history of racism in Sri Lanka and the violent repression carried out by successive governments against peaceful Tamil protests.
The appalling suggestion by deputy leader of the opposition Julie Bishop that Sri Lankan asylum seekers should be delivered into the hands of the government of Sri Lanka without even looking at their claims has underlined the importance of the newly-formed WA Network for Human Rights in Tamil Eelam and Sri Lanka.
The Sydney Refugees Action Coalition released the statement below on September 7. * * * A High Court decision this morning has dismissed an application of behalf of five asylum seekers seeking to extend judicial review to discretionary ministerial decisions. In a similar application (M61) in 2010, the High Court found that asylum seekers were entitled to judicial review of appeal decisions. The High Court judgment means that there is now no legal impediment to the government moving to deport a large number of asylum seekers.
On December 9, 2011, in the military-occupied Jafna, in the north of Sri Lanka, left-wing activists Lalith Kumar and Kuhan Muruganandanin were “disappeared” in the area of Neerveli while the two were riding on a motor bike. Like many other activists and reporters who have “disappeared” in that country, witnesses say the two were abducted by an armed gang in a white van. However these witnesses were too terrified of retribution to make official statements.
The Front Line Socialist Party of Sri Lanka held a protest to defend equality in education with an August 15 demonstration in front of the Fort Railway station in Colombo in support of a mass campaign student and teacher organisations, Premakumar Gunaratnam told Green Left Weekly. “Ever since 1977, various Sri Lankan governments have being trying to privatise the education system,” Gunaratnam explained. “The first attempts were blocked by a strong student movement led by the Inter University Students Federation (IUFS).”
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s “expert panel” on refugee policy will hand over its findings on how to “stop the boats” and end the parliamentary “deadlock” over offshore processing when parliament begins sitting again next week. After an asylum boat tragedy that killed 90 people in June, the three-member panel, headed by former defence chief Angus Houston, was tasked to report on the “best way forward for Australia to prevent asylum seekers risking their lives” considering “Australia’s right to maintain its borders”.
When Tamil asylum seeker Dayan Anthony was deported back to Sri Lanka by the Australian government last month, his immediate arrest and interrogation did little to allay fears he would not face harassment from authorities. His subsequent government-arranged press conference appeared to be staged for the benefit of the Sri Lankan and Australian governments.
On July 25, Tamil refugee Dayan Anthony (formerly known as "Mr X" in Australia in an attempt to protect his identity from Sri Lankan authorities), was deported from Melbourne. Australian authorities handed him over to the Sri Lankan intelligence forces - who had held Mr Anthony in custody for years, and had tortured him.
Distraught family members of the Tamil asylum seeker known as “Mr X” who was deported to Sri Lanka on July 25 have not been able to locate their relative. More than 14 hours after landing at Colombo airport, the Tamil man had not come out of the airport. There are reports in the Sri Lankan media that the man has been detained by the Sri Lankan intelligence unit. While Mr X’s family was waiting for him to emerge from the airport, the Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka arrived at the airport and sought the man’s release. Even the High Commissioner was unsuccessful.
The Refugee Action Coalition in Sydney released the statement below on July 27, after Tamil deportee Dayan Anthony was released from custody after being missing for 16 hours. *** The Refugee Action Coalition has welcomed the release of Tamil asylum seeker Dayan Anthony from custody in Sri Lanka, but has rejected reports that Dayan’s recanting his claim of torture as a product of duress.
The Victoria Refugee Action Collective released the statement below on July 27. *** Distraught family members of deported Tamil asylum seeker Dayan Anthony have finally been reunited with him. Anthony was deported from Australia on July 25. He was interrogated for 16 hours after being handed over to the Sri Lankan police intelligence unit (CID) at Colombo airport. During this time, the Sri Lankan police refused to give the family any information.
The article below is based on a talk given at a Socialist Alliance meeting on June 26 in Melbourne by Chris Slee, a member of the SA Melbourne branch. * * * The Socialist Alliance supports the right of the Tamil people to self-determination. A resolution adopted at an SA national conference reads: "Socialist Alliance recognises that Tamils are an oppressed nation within Sri Lanka, and supports their right to self-determination.