Australian Greens Senator criticizes support to empty US resolution

[TamilNet, Friday, 22 March 2013, 03:44 GMT]
Responding to a motion passed in the Australian Federal Parliament on Thursday which welcomed the Australian government’s decision to support the US resolution at Geneva, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said “the Australian Greens cannot congratulate the government in supporting the empty US-initiated resolution on Sri Lanka, tabled at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. It is weak because it urges the Sri Lankan government to implement its own investigation into the war crimes that it is accused of committing.” The motion, which is not binding but is significant as a statement of position, that was tabled by Senators Madigan and Xenophon was passed by the senate. In a separate statement, Ms. Rhiannon also called for an independent international investigation on Sri Lanka, referring to the demands of the Tamil Nadu student protestors.

Lee Rhiannon
“The Greens do not support this motion. [...] While I believe this motion has been moved in good faith by Senators Madigan and Xenophon, the Australian Greens cannot congratulate the government in supporting the empty US-initiated resolution on Sri Lanka, tabled at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. It is weak because it urges the Sri Lankan government to implement its own investigation into the war crimes that it is accused of committing,” Ms. Rhiannon said in the parliament.

Full text of a separate release on Thursday by Ms. Rhiannon calling for an independent international investigation on Sri Lanka follows:

While I believe this motion has been moved in good faith by Senator Madigan and Senator Xenephon, the Australian Greens are unable to congratulate the Australian government in supporting the empty US-initiated resolution on Sri Lanka, tabled at the 22nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The US resolution is weak. Rather than supporting the recommendations of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which called for an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations of international human rights law, the US resolution urges the Sri Lankan Government to conduct the investigation.

To urge the Sri Lankan Government to implement its own investigation into the war crimes it is accused of is an insult to the principles of human rights. Accusations of the deaths of up to 40 000 Tamils in five months, the systematic sexual abuse of countless men and women, the execution of a 12 year old boy in their custody, the incarceration of about 330 000 Tamils at the end of the war, the suppression of media freedom and the continuing intimidation of its citizens.

An independent and credible international investigation is definitely needed. But it won't happen by urging the Government of Sri Lanka to implement it.

The last week has seen hundreds of thousands of young people in India protesting in demand for an independent international investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity that have taken place in Sri Lanka.

The Times of India ran a story yesterday headlined – 525 Colleges Shut as Students Protest.

The uprising in India has been inspiring and has given hope that change is possible.

To show their support for their brothers and sisters in Tamil Naadu, Tamils all over the world have been sending messages of solidarity.

Today, Australian Tamil youth will start a 24 hour solidarity action.

Today the Greens will send a message of hope to those hundreds of thousands of young people asking for stronger international action, for an independent investigation into the Sri Lankan civil war. We do so by not supporting this motion.

Senator Rhiannon.

Hunger Strike in Australia
Hunger strike in Australia


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