“We support your demand for self-determination,” said New Zealand’s parliamentary leader of the Green Party, Metiria Turei MP, speaking at an event in Auckland on Sunday, convened to remember Black July 1983. Her view was echoed by John Minto, a respected human rights activist saying, “I know you have been consistently airing your right to self determination and we support your demand because you cannot live in a country that does not recognise and respect your rights.” Labour MP and shadow foreign minister Phil Goff who spoke at the event as well as the other two guest speakers called for an international investigation on the war crimes. The Green leader announced that her party is determined to work with Australian Greens in expelling the war-crimes-accused SL High Commissioner for Australia.
Excerpts from the speeches of Guest Speakers:
Metiria Turei MP, Leader of the Parliamentary Group as well as Co-Leader of the Green Party:
We are closely watching your consistent and consolidated efforts to win your rights. You are very active and unrelenting. As a result we are familiar with the crises in Sri Lanka.
We support your demand for self-determination and will extend our support to win your goal.
We support the global demand for a transparent inquiry by an independent international tribunal into war crimes and human rights violations and crimes against humanity under international law enumerated in the report of the Experts Panel appointed by the UN Secretary- General.
I also make this announcement. Along with the Greens in Australia, we are determined to mount pressure to expel the Sri Lankan High Commissioner for Australia and New Zealand Commodore Tissara Samarasinghe, formerly of the Sri Lankan Navy.
We cannot allow people associated with human rights violations and war crimes to defile the decorum and ethics hitherto maintained in diplomatic practices.
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John Minto, Human Rights Activist:
We support the rights of all people. We voice the rights of indigenous people anywhere in the world. Rights are universal and belong to all alike. There are no minority rights and majority rights. The tyranny of the majority cannot be tolerated.
I know you have been consistently airing your right to self determination and we support your demand because you cannot live in a country that does not recognise and respect your rights – the human rights guaranteed by UN instruments.
There can’t be two words that an independent international tribunal must investigate the alleged violations of human rights and the war crimes enumerated by the report of the Experts Panel appointed by UN Secretary- General.
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Phil Goff MP: shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Labour Party:
Your continued consistent activities have helped us to keep abreast of the continuing atrocities committed against the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Human rights violations, crimes against humanity under international law and war crimes cannot be allowed to pass without proper investigation.
We will lend support to the growing international demand for a transparent inquiry into the alleged violations of human rights and crimes against humanity under international law and war crimes enumerated in the report of the Experts Panel appointed by the UN Secretary-General.
No reconciliation can be achieved without justice being meted out first and the victims adequately compensated. But nothing towards reconciliation has taken place in Sri Lanka except words and more words.
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The event was in the form of a seminar, presided by Dr. Siva Vasanthan who called for direct UN monitoring of the processes in the island.
Mr. A. Theva Rajan spoke on the futility of expecting the regime bringing in Tamil–Sinhala goodwill and on its interference with judiciary.
Janaki Paskaran, Tharuni Ashok and R. Danisha were among the Eezham Tamil participants presenting papers on Genocide, Culture Demolition and Emerging Trends; The Quest for Justice and on A Generation Condemned to Extinction