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Sri Lanka: ‘The wrecking of a country’ – Scoop

[MISC, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 07:12 No Comment]

The modern history of Sri Lanka represents “the wrecking of a country: from the ‘pearl of the Indian Ocean’, to ‘the killing fields of South Asia’”, Dr Brian Senewiratne told a meeting of the Brisbane city Amnesty International group on July 8.

“Prime Minister [Kevin] Rudd went to Indonesia and Malaysia recently to talk about preventing ‘boat people’ coming to Australia. He would have done better to go to Sri Lanka and tell the prime minister of Sri Lanka to end the oppression of the Tamil people.”

Despite the reported end of the war between the Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tigers, “we are not nearly at the end of the Sri Lankan conflict, we are only at the beginning of the human rights tragedy for the Tamils at the hands of the government”, Senewiratne said.

In order for the oppression of the Tamils to be overcome, "the centralisation of power in Colombo must end”.

>From January to May 2009, at least 30,000 Tamils were killed, including 20,000 massacred on May 17. The army was burning the evidence, with mass incineration of bodies, he added.

“We need an information blitz to get out the truth about Tamil oppression”, Senewiratne said. He called for the release of all detained Tamil people in concentration camps, condemnation of the Sri Lankan government by the UN and human rights organisations and the isolation of the Sri Lankan regime.

This would include economic sanctions, a boycott of Sri Lankan goods and trade union bans. Just like the campaign against apartheid in South Africa, a sports ban on the Sri Lankan cricket team could also play a significant part, Senewiratne said.

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