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Australia's silence on human rights abuse inexcusable complicity



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Milne: Australia’s silence on human rights abuse inexcusable complicity

Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne says the Prime Minister has a moral obligation to raise serious human rights abuses with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse while in Colombo for CHOGM.

“Australia’s silence on human rights abuses in Sri Lanka is inexcusable complicity,” Senator Milne said.

“For the Prime Minister to raise human rights abuses while at CHOGM is the absolute bare minimum required for Australia to maintain any shred of credibility with the international community.

“Reports Sri Lankan security forces have moved to stifle all dissent during CHOGM by detaining protesters and restricting journalists are a damning indication of what the Rajapakses seek to hide.

“Treatment of my colleague Senator Rhiannon while in Sri Lanka, who wished only to hold a press conference to report on what she had seen and heard, is another indication of the human rights abuses that are occurring.

“Mr Abbott must communicate to President Rajapakse that if Sri Lanka does not deliver an independent investigation, the international community will itself ensure war crimes are investigated.

"It's hard to escape the conclusion that the Australian Government is turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in Sri Lanka because it prioritises stopping the boats rather than investigating why people are leaving.

“I am also calling for the government to immediately explain the extent of Australia’s complicity and cooperation with the Sri Lankan authorities over the case of a Sri Lankan naval officer, who was arrested for people smuggling and was once an adviser to the Australia on how to stop human trafficking.

“DFAT refused to answer my questions on this case prior to the arrest citing intelligence concerns. We must expose any corruption in Sri Lanka and the extent to which the Australian Government has known about this and done nothing."

Media contact: Peter Stahel 0437 587 562