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TNA meets Aussie FM on UN vote

2014 Mar 08

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has had talks with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and sought Australia’s support for the US resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council, Radio Australia reported.

TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran met Bishop and also briefed interested MPs from both major parties in Australia.

“There is wide consensus that Sri Lanka hasn’t delivered and hasn’t made headway in accountability,” Sumanthiran told Australia Network after his meetings at Parliament House.

“The United Nations Human Rights Council now has a resolution that calls on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate atrocities said to have taken place in the last days of the civil war.

“We have called consistently for a international commission of inquiry. This present draft that we have seen doesn’t call for an independent inquiry to be set up through the resolution.

“We are a bit disappointed, yet we recognise we are making progress with the resolution. We are hopeful that US, Britain and a few other countries will take it forward, acquire the necessary vote then it will be passed and implemented.”

 

Sumanthiran has asked for support from the Australian Government and local MPs.

“We do realise that Australia has a difficult situation with boatloads of people coming and landing here (from Sri Lanka) but we would like those two issues to be kept separate,” he said.

“The deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka calls for decisive action from the world community, particularly from civilised countries and we would like to see Australia on that side rather than others who stand with Sri Lanka now.

“I met with Foreign Minister Bishop and officially requested Australia co-sponsor the resolution.

“She assured me she would look at it and make a decision on that.”

In November 2013, human rights groups criticised Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott for his failure to criticise the Sri Lankan Government during his visit to the country for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings.

At the time, Abbott praised the progress made in Sri Lanka since the war ended and thanked the government for its cooperation in combating people smuggling.

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