Activists accuse South Africa of ignoring Tamil genocide

[TamilNet, Monday, 14 December 2009, 00:17 GMT]
Human rights activists have accused the South African government of double standards for "flirting" with Sri Lankan government officials and ignoring the genocide in the country, South Africa's Times reported Saturday. The accusations followed South Africa's minister of international relations, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, to Colombo last month, where the Minister was quoted by Times as saying, "Sri Lanka has become a key partner [of South Africa] on several international issues such as human rights, poverty alleviation, globalisation and the reform of the United Nations."

However, South Aftrica'sactivists said the minister's speech ignored the conflict in the country since 1983 between the Sinhalese government and the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, also known as the Tamil Tigers.

Roy Chetty of the Social Movement Indaba said they were "outraged" that the SA government had ignored the oppression of the Tamil population of Sri Lanka, the article said.

The paper quoted Chetty as saying, "I do not believe that the SA government has dealt with the Tamil population even-handedly. They have tended to prioritise their relationship with the Sri Lankan regime."

Attorney Abbey Naidoo said he found the speech "disconcerting, as it seemed to reinforce the position of the Sinhalese genocidal regime," the paper said.

The paper also quoted Richard Govender, Tamil Coordinating Committee spokes-man and member of The Solidarity Group for Peace and Justice in Sri Lanka, as saying, "[w]hen there were offensives by the army of the Sri Lankan government, there was no statement issued by our government condemning atrocities and human rights violations."

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