Feature Article

Plight of Tamils hidden behind Sri Lankan Diplomacy: Bruce Haigh

[TamilNet, Monday, 06 July 2009, 17:52 GMT]
Western countries must look beyond government to government relations with Sri Lanka in order to grasp the Tamil issue, said former Australian diplomat Bruce Haigh in an address in Parliament. Highlighting three decades of reporting “skewed very much in favour of the Sri Lankan government” that has made it “possible all through the years to demonise the Tamils”, Haigh said commonwealth nations should have played a larger role in establishing permanent peace in Sri Lanka and needed to see beyond the post 9/11 spheres of politics to independently deal with the conflict.

Bruce Haigh
Bruce Haigh
Speaking at a forum held in Parliament on 17 June to discuss human rights in Sri Lanka, Haigh, a former Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, slammed Australia’s previous policy of requesting police reports for Tamils seeking refugee status, as it bought attention to their families in Sri Lanka.

“It made no sense what so ever and it was wrong. But the mindset in Canberra was that this was what should be done, this was the official structure and that structure should be engaged with” Haigh explained, saying Australia’s approach to Sri Lanka was much like that towards South Africa, where “Australian government took the position that they were against apartheid but they weren’t necessarily against the structures and formations of the South African government”.

“You can't just be against apartheid and not be for black South Africans and their rights, so better that your government and your embassy and so on come out in favour in terms of their policies and their statements and support the aspirations of black South Africans. Its been as I say the same in Sri Lanka, where in my experience the reporting was skewed heavily in favour of the Sinhalese and not at all for the Tamils” said Haige.

Highlighting the “huge contribution to the productivity of this country and also to the life of this country” made by Australia’s Tamil Diaspora, Haigh said the war against Tamils was utilized by the Bush administration as a victory on international terrorism and said commonwealth nations should have played a role in establishing a permanent peace between the two sides.

“I could never understand why Australia and other commonwealth countries allowed Norway to just run with this and I think the reason was because the commonwealth didn’t want to pick up on it. It should have been a commonwealth initiative out of the commonwealth secretariat in London, and it would have carried more weight had it been done by the commonwealth secretariat”

Expressing disappointment over Australia’s inaction, Haigh highlighted failed approaches in dealing with regional civil unrest in West Papua, East Timor and Papua New Guinea as indicative of a federal Government that “does not want to do is to grapple with difficult problems, it sweeps them under the carpet”.

Haigh also revealed a pressuring phone call received just hours earlier regarding his address to the forum, pointing his finger at Sri Lankan Government representatives in Canberra. “I do know the Sri Lankan embassy is based in Canberra and I will be seeking to find out where this telephone call came from because it reminded me of South Africa, an act of intimidation”.

Related Articles:
05.07.09   Sinister thinking behind Tamil incarceration: Doctor John Wh..
25.06.09   ICJ Vice Chairman urges governments of free people to protec..


Latest 15 Reports
24.04.22 05:44  
தீவின் நெருக்கடிச் சூழலில் ஈழத்தமிழர் தேசம் கடைப்பிடிக்கவேண்டிய நிலைப்பாடுகள்
09.04.22 14:44   Photo
குறிதவறும் ஈழத்தமிழர் தலைமைகளுக்கு வரலாறு தருகின்ற எச்சரிக்கை
21.01.22 07:24   Photo
ஈழத்தமிழர் தேசத்தின் தலைமைத்துவம் தேர்தல் அரசியற் கட்சிகளுக்கு அப்பாலானது
02.11.21 15:32   Photo
13 ஆம் சட்டத்திருத்தத்தால் கட்டமைக்கப்பட்ட இன அழிப்பை எதிர்கொள்ள முடியுமா?
15.09.21 08:19  
English version not available
17.05.21 19:23   Photo
Ananthi blames war criminal Silva for blocking collective memorial at Mu'l'livaaykkaal
09.04.21 14:46  
English version not available
23.03.21 12:41   Photo
No focus on Tamil genocide, geopolitics gets played out in Geneva in favour of QUAD formation
21.03.21 13:34   Photo
Navi Pillay explains ‘human rights’ limitations in Geneva on Tamil genocide
15.03.21 20:36   Photo
Deceived Tamil activists in UK falsely claimed ‘substantial changes’ to Zero draft
09.03.21 21:34   Photo
UK repeatedly wronged Tamils says hunger-striker, demands genocide justice
26.02.21 11:53   Photo
Tamils witness false dilemma in Geneva as geopolitical formations pit against each other
19.02.21 14:02   Photo
UK not prepared to push for ICC option in new UNHRC Resolution
07.02.21 23:16   Photo
Unprecedented P2P uprising paves the way for rights-oriented politics of Tamils and Muslims
22.01.21 08:01   Photo
Gotabaya sets up deceptive COI citing ‘sovereignty’ and ‘non-aligned’ foreign policy
Find this article at: