Colombo Telegraph

Sumanthiran Lobbies Support For UNHRC Resolution In Australia

Representatives of the Tamil National Alliance, now on a mission to Australia, have urged the Australian Government to consider co-sponsor the resolution at the UN Human Rights Council and back an international inquiry into the final phase of the war in Sri Lanka.


TNA National List Legislator M.A. Sumanthiran is currently in Australia, where he has met with parliamentarians and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to lobby support for the resolution which the Tamil party claims seeks to alleviate the problems faced by Sri Lanka’s ethnic Tamil minority.

“There is wide consensus that Sri Lanka hasn’t delivered and hasn’t made headway in accountability,” Mr Sumanthiran told Australia Network after his meetings at Parliament House.

“The United Nations Human Rights Council now has a resolution that calls on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate atrocities said to have taken place in the last days of the civil war.

“We have called consistently for a international commission of inquiry. This present draft that we have seen doesn’t call for an independent inquiry to be set up through the resolution.

“We are a bit disappointed, yet we recognise we are making progress with the resolution. We are hopeful that US, Britain and a few other countries will take it forward, acquire the necessary vote then it will be passed and implemented.”

Australia’s Abbot administration has cosied up the Rajapaksa Government in Colombo and has shown willingness to overlook major human rights issues in the island in exchange for Sri Lanka’s support for stopping illegal immigrants arriving on Australian shores.

Australia is a major stumbling block in ongoing efforts to lobby UN member states to support the US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka, diplomatic sources say, with Canberra attempting to curry favour with Colombo with attempts to soften the tone of the resolution. Australia has co-sponsored US resolutions on Sri Lanka in previous years, but is unlikely to do so in 2014, due to the overwhelmingly close relationship between Prime Minister Tony Abbot and the Rajapaksa ruling dynasty in Colombo.

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