As Australian media on Friday reported that 79 Tamil asylum seekers were being sent back to Colombo amidst the controversial ties between the Sri Lankan Government and the Australian Government were further exposed in ‘Sri Lanka CHOGM’ last week, Canberra-based retired Bishop Pat Power, long an outspoken critic of Rome, has criticised both the Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbot and the Catholic Church on the controversial Sri Lanka policy.
It could be argued that Australia should have followed the lead of Canada and India in boycotting CHOGM because of the manifest injustices still being perpetrated in Sri Lanka. But once part of the meeting, it is shameful to see Prime Minister Tony Abbott pretending that everything in the garden is rosy, Bishop Pat Power has said noting that Mr Abbott wanted to use CHOGM as an opportunity to join with his Sri Lankan counterpart in planning joint strategies to stem the tide of refugees fleeing to Australia.
In an article published in Ballarat Courier on Friday, Bishop Power also said: “The Catholic Church is having to face up to the consequences of having turned a blind eye for 40 years or more to all kinds of abuse within its ranks. As a result, the suffering of the innocents continued far longer than it should have.”
“I hope that this shameful episode in my church’s history will have powerful lessons in relation to the politics of denial,” Bishop Pat Power said.
“There is no doubt the Tamil Tigers were at times guilty of criminal behaviour during the civil war, but to brand the whole Tamil population with that broad brush is similar to the tactic employed by the Israeli authorities in blackening the name of innocent Palestinians while practising all kinds of injustices against that minority people,” Bishop Power said.
“All my sources tell me that countless innocent citizens are still being subjected to a reign of terror, with every effort being made by the government to prevent the media reporting the atrocities.”