Monday 1 March 2010
Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission urged the Federal Government to take a stronger position on human rights violations in Sri Lanka in the wake of the European Union’s announcement of its plan to withdraw preferential trade benefits to the South Asian country in six months unless human rights concerns are addressed.
Sri Lanka benefits from trade concessions in the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences Plus (GSP+), an incentive scheme tied to the improvement of human rights and good governance. The scheme provides tariff cuts to support vulnerable developing countries.
The European Union has repeatedly warned Sri Lanka that it must meet 27 international human rights conventions to retain its GSP Plus status.
Sri Lanka’s textile and clothing industry earned $3.47 billion in export income from the European Union in 2008. Suspension of the tariff benefit foreshadowed by the February 16 announcement by the European Union could seriously affect the industry.
The Justice and Peace Commission’s Executive officer, Peter Arndt, said that the Australian Government should add its voice to those of many other Western nations who have expressed serious concerns about the treatment of Tamils during and since the final stages of the conflict between the Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tigers last year.
“The treatment of Tamil civilians by both the Tigers and the military during the final stages of the conflict last year was appalling,” Mr Arndt said.
“Tamil civilians were killed and injured in great numbers by actions on both sides,” he said.
“Since the end of the conflict, the Sri Lankan Government received repeated criticisms from many quarters for its treatment of the hundreds of thousands of Tamils it detained in camps in the north of the country,” he said.
“Under pressure from the international community, the Sri Lankan Government accelerated the release of detainees late last year, but over 100000 people are still in the camps,” he said.
“Credible reports indicate that camp conditions are squalid,” he said.
“Despite claims of freedom of movement for those in camps, the truth is that people cannot leave without gaining approval and they must report regularly to police,” he said.
“For those who have returned to their home area, there appears to be little support or income,” he said.
“Throughout the whole of this period, the Government has restricted the capacity of international aid and human rights organisations to monitor the treatment of Tamil civilians,” he said.
“Journalists and critics of the Government, including Serath Fonseka who ran in the recent presidential elections, are arrested on what appear to be trumped up charges, are killed or simply disappear,” he said.
“The International Crisis Group is one of many respected international organisations which have released reports and statements expressing grave concerns about the treatment of Tamils and critics of the Government,” he said.
“The International Crisis Group issued a report recently calling for the Sri Lankan Government to address the legitimate Tamil concerns about systematic discrimination against them,” he said.
“The European Union’s threat of removal of trade benefits is part of a very loud and prolonged chorus of concerns about human rights in Sri Lanka and Australia must join efforts to put an end to this dreadful state of affairs,” he said.
“We in the Church in Australia should also heed the cries of those who suffer in Sri Lanka and the concerns expressed by the Church in that country,” he said.
“On the same day as the European Union announcement, the Conference of Major Religious Superiors in Sri Lanka said there was a loss of faith in the democratic process and just governance,” he said.
“They called for the country’s political leaders to respect the rule of law and human rights and to uphold the principles of reconciliation, forgiveness, freedom of media, freedom of speech and the right to dissent,” he said.
For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.
Hey you all seemed to be soo concerned on human rights in SL war. Where were you guys all these 30 years when people were blown into pieces, innocent villagers were chopped and diced?? If any civilians died in the war 100% resposiblity goes to LTTE terrorist for forceably keeping them as human shield. The SL forces saved over 200,000 lives that were held as hostage. Have you ever heard anything more humatarian like that in a war??
Yes about the GSP + status. The EU have never cared for any human rights in SL ever. But they treat SL if they do not stop the war they will take GSP + out. This is exactly what they are doing. So for people of SL it was iether live with terrorism for ever or loose GSP +.
So you are suddenly soo interested in human rights in SL? Did some nice people come to you and genrouslt gave you tons of money and ask you to take care of human rights in SL? These are the same peolple who fund terrorism in SL and now furiuos because SL govt defeated thier LTTE. This is how they take revenge. They did not and will never care for ANY human rights.
Don’t write about conditions in the camps. They are 100 time better than the cams in elsewhere in the region. The Tamil Nadu politicians who came to visit them were so satisfied them, because they were 1000 times better than ones in India.
Who the hell are you to write about SF??? Can you proove that there are NO evidents aginst him ?? What do you know about this Crook?? When there are mountains of evidents of his treachery and frauds, SL gov should take no action? For your information it is taken in court. People like you have NO business in it what so ever just because you got paid by some terrorists. If he is innocent he can prove it in court.
The Tamil’s problem is that they are basically racist, and egged-on by support from 80-million Tamils in Tamil Nadu, they want to create a Pan-Tamil Empire. First in Sri Lanka, then in Tamil Nadu, then wherever they can disposses a people of their ancestral land. In the meantime, they adopt the strategy of pretending to be wailing victims all over the world, while they practice murder and mayhem in Sri Lanka. They can wail elsewhere, but murder and mayhem in Sri Lanka will not be possible AGAIN.
Many Tamils of Sri Lanka have supported a fundamentally racist aparthied dream of a “homeland” in Sri Lanka for Tamils-only, ethnically cleansing the North and East of Sri Lanka of their Sinhala and Muslim communities. The Tamil Diaspora that the LTTE expelled so artfully to foreign countries, hold their hosts bondage to their separatist cause, while exploiting, violating and subverting the laws of their blissfully ignorant hosts. They conveniently forget that it is their own actions threatening the unity of Sri Lanka that brought disaster cascading down upon all Sri Lankan heads. They did not, and still do not, accept the notion that Sri Lanka is the birthright of ALL of its people, not PART BY PART, but as a WHOLE. The only Tamil-only homeland in the world is in Tamil Nadu, India .. not in Sri Lanka .. which will NEVER allow it. After 30-years of pain, suffering and humiliation the Sinhala people, seething in anger, have finally stood and said “Enough!
Please in the name of GOD don’t support terrorist and its funders by publishing rubbish stories they create and help them in the process of taking revenge from SL. Please GIVE THE MONEY YOU GOT BACK AND SAY NO THANKS. LEAVE SL ALONE YOU SHAMELESS SINNERS.
ARCHDIOCEAN catolic secratery wouldlike to submit a project proposal on human riht promotion