[Marxism] Video: Brian Senewiratne - Deterioration of human rights in Sri Lanka

Alex Bainbridge alexb at greenleft.org.au
Thu Sep 6 19:47:47 MDT 2012



*<Please circulate these links in Tamil communities and refugee rights
activists in your area>*

On Saturday September 1, around 45 people attended a presentation in
Fremantle on the human rights crisis in Sri Lanka presented by Dr Brian
Senewiratne. Brian is a Socialist Alliance member in Queensland and veteran
campaigner for the rights of the Ilankai (Sri Lankan) Tamils, and staunch
advocate for the right of Tamil self-determination.

While Brian comes from the majority Sinhalese community and has multiple
family ties with the ruling elite (his cousin was a former president), he's
famous for staring down the death threats and and insults thrown at him by
government stooges.

Australian society remains largely ignorant of the reality on the ground,
and at best the Australian media offer the naive hope that with the
so-called "end of the war" the situation might be improving. In fact the
the reality is very grim in both the South, where an activist, journalist
or government critic is "disappeared" at least every five days (23
journalists have been murdered in the last four years); and in the Tamil
homelands of the North and East where violence and ethnic cleansing meet
the legal definition of genocide.

The meeting was called by the newly formed WA Network for Human Rights in
Tamil Eelam and Sri Lanka. The network grew out of conversations between SA
members Sam Wainwright and Ram Subramaniam. The military defeat of the
Tamil Tigers in 2009 has provoked much discussion within the Tamil Diaspora
about the way forward for their struggle.

They recognised the desperate need for a campaigning initiative open to
both Tamils and non-Tamils; and which would take up the cause of all
exploited and oppressed people in Sri Lanka and Tamil Eelam regardless of
their ethnicity; and without compromising on the right of Tamil

No surprise that there has been a surge of refugees fleeing violence from
Sri Lanka, some even attempting to make the entire crossing of the Indian
Ocean without stopping. The genocidal violence of the Government of Sri
Lanka and the determination of the the Labor and Liberal parties to "turn
back the boats" go hand in glove. But they also gives us the opportunity to
truly expose the inhumanity of Australia's policy and the violent nature of
the Rajapaksa regime.

As if on cue, the next day Deputy Leader of the Opposition Julie Bishop
Sri Lankan asylum seekers should be transferred back to the hands of the
Government of Sri Lanka without even looking at their claims! The Sri
Lankan Navy has even won thanks from the the Australian government for
"stopping the boats" by firing on them. In fact leading figures in the
Rajapaksa regime have been profiting from "people smuggling" at the same

The new network has put out a draft "Charter for Human Rights in Sri Lanka
and Tamil Eelam" for which it's gathering supporters. A certain campaign is
the call to boycott the 2013 CHOGM to be held in Colombo. Under the
pressure of its big and well organised Tamil Community Canada is
threatening not to attend, something Julia Gillard has ruled out.

*Alex Bainbridge*
*0413 976 638  **  alexb at greenleft.org.au*

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