Brian Senewiratne: Deterioration of human rights in Sri Lanka

September 10, 2012 -- Green Left TV -- A 56-minute presentation by Brian Senewiratne at the Fremantle Town Hall, Western Australia, on September 1, 2012. Senewiratne is a veteran campaigner for the rights of the Ilankai (Sri Lankan) Tamils, and staunch advocate for the right of Tamil self-determination. He is a Socialist Alliance member in Queensland. The forum was organised by a new network called "Human Rights in Sri Lanka and Tamil Eelam".

There has been a surge of refugess fleeing repression in Sri Lanka, some attempting to make the entire crossing of the Indian Ocean to Australia without stopping. The genocidal violence of the government of Sri Lanka and the determination of the ruling Labor and opposition Liberal parties in Australia to "turn back the boats" go hand in glove.

As if on cue, the day after the forum the deputy leader of the opposition Julie Bishop declared that Sri Lankan asylum seekers should be transferred to 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 time.

In response to Bishop's call, a picket protest was quickly organised (see video below).

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 Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard has ruled out.