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Tamils urge govt to reject Sri Lanka envoy – aap

[MISC, Monday, 24 January 2011 09:29 No Comment]

Australia’s Tamil community has urged the federal government to reject Sri Lanka’s nominee to become its next top diplomat in Canberra.

The Sri Lankan government has reportedly nominated former navy chief Thisara Samarasinghe as its next high commissioner to Australia.

But the Australian Tamil Congress believes the government should reject the nomination.

"The Australian Tamil community would feel very much betrayed if this appointment went ahead," congress spokeswoman Sam Pari told AAP.

Dr Pari said the nomination continued a trend of Sri Lanka appointing military figures as diplomats.

"It’s a strong sign that Sri Lanka is becoming a military state and following the lead of countries like Burma," she said.

The nomination comes amid continued calls for an international investigation into human rights violations during Sri Lanka’s long civil war against Tamil separatists.

No specific allegations have been levelled against Samarasinghe, who became navy commander in July 2009, shortly after the war ended.

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