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Monday, 28 February 2011
Page: 1711

Debate resumed, on motion by Mr Laurie Ferguson:

That this House notes that:

(1)   the Sri Lankan Government declared an end to the war in Sri Lanka in May 2009;

(2)   on 22 June 2010 the United Nations Secretary-General appointed a panel of experts to advise him on accountability concerning any alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka;

(3)   the panel:

(a)   officially began its work on 16 September 2010; and

(b)   is looking into the modalities, applicable international standards and comparative experience with regard to accountability processes, taking into account the nature and scope of any essential foundation for durable peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka;

(4)   through the panel, the Secretary-General expects to enable the United Nations to make a constructive contribution in this regard;

(5)   on 18 October 2010 the panel invited individuals and organisations to make submissions in respect of its work, and will accept submissions until 15 December 2010;

(6)   in light of the panel’s review, Australia’s close ties with Sri Lanka and continuing reports by several reputable human rights organisations, such as the International Crisis Group, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Elders, as well as governments including in Britain, there has been a call for an international independent investigation into war crimes committed by all parties during the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka; and

(7)   Australia, as a respected and responsible member of the international community and Asian neighbourhood, can help accomplish better outcomes in Sri Lanka in the return towards a civil society, particularly for the Tamil minority, and that such actions:

(a)   would further assist with the creation of durable solutions to what has been a humanitarian crisis on Australia’s doorstep in Sri Lanka; and

(b)   could also help partially alleviate the flow of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka.