Australian ICJ considers Tamil plight

[TamilNet, Saturday, 16 June 2001, 15:56 GMT]
The Australian branch of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has suggested to the Commonwealth Secretariat in London and the Australian Foreign Minister to include the Sri Lankan ethnic issue on the Commonweal Heads of Government meeting scheduled to be held in Brisbane in October this year, Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham, Tamil United Liberation Front Member of Parliament of the Batticaloa district told Tamilnet Saturday. He said that Hon. Justice John Dowd, President of the International Commission of Jurists (Australian Section) has informed him of the development.

“I have written to our Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Commonwealth Secretariat in London to suggest the inclusion of Sri Lanka on the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Brisbane in October and I look forward to some sort of positive response”, the Hon. Justice John Dowd said in a letter to the MP.

Mr.Pararajasingham had met Hon. John Dowd, President of the ICJ (Australian Section) and briefed him about Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem during a recent visit to Australia. Mr. Pararajasingham brought to his notice the atrocities, human rights violations taking place in the Tamil dominated northeast province by the Sri Lankan security forces.

Mr.Pararajasingham had cited several instances where Tamil women were raped and tortured by the Sri Lankan security forces dominated by the Sinhala soldiers. He made an appeal to Justice John Dowd to use his good offices to persuade the Australian Foreign Minister to include the Sri Lankan ethnic issue in the agenda of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting to be held in Brisbane in October this year.

Hence the letter written by Justice John Dowd to the Australian Foreign Minister Mr. Alexander Downer and the Commonwealth Secretariat requesting the inclusion of the Sri Lankan ethnic issue on the agenda of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.

Mr.Pararajasingham's visit was at the invitation of the Australian Tamil Refugees Council. He addressed two seminars held in Melbourne and Sydney attended by Australian parliamentarians and Senators. He discussed the Sri Lankan Tamils’ issue with the Deputy Secretary to the Prime Minister, senior officials of the Foreign Ministry, President of the Senate and other non-governmental organizations including the Australian Amnesty International.

“At these meetings I emphasised that only direct talks between the Sri Lankan Government and the authentic representative of Tamil people-Liberation Tigers- could result in peace,” Mr. Pararajasingham. He called on the Australian government,” to help end the conflict by exerting diplomatic pressure on the Sri Lankan Government”.

“The economic embargo should be removed totally. The ban of the Liberation Tigers be lifted before commencing peace talks,” reiterated Mr. Pararajasingham.

 

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