Support for Human Rights in Sri Lanka

Today I wrote to Murray McCully asking NZ to make a stand for human rights in Sri Lanka. Amnesty International NZ is running a great campaign on this right now so you too can easily write to the Minister and show your support.

Here’s my letter:

Dear Minister McCully,

I am writing to you to ask you to support Canada’s political lead and publicly condemn Sri Lanka’s persistent failure to ensure justice for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, and to stop its attacks on civil society activists and make a strong stand at CHOGM and call for another chair to replace Rajapaksa when it comes time to appoint the Commonwealth Chairperson-in -Office.
The human rights abuses by the Sri Lankan Government during the time of acknowledged conflict, are well understood. We also know Sri Lanka has refused to allow independent investigators into the country even in the face of UN pressure and has have made no meaningful moves towards reconciliation. Most worryingly perhaps has been a growing trend towards increased authoritarianism. Amnesty International’s report from April this year noted

“there is a real climate of fear in Sri Lanka, with those brave enough to speak out against the government often having to suffer badly for it”.

Allowing Sri Lanka’s President to become the chair of the commonwealth would undermine our efforts to strengthen human rights in the Asia Pacific. It would undermine the UN efforts to get a proper investigation of the war crimes and it would also seriously undermine the charter just developed by the Commonwealth committing Commonwealth leaders to democracy, human rights, tolerance, freedom of expression, good governance and the rule of law – none of which are respected by the Rajapaksa government.

New Zealand has taken many Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka and we have made strong stands against the loss of democracy in Fiji and in protection of peace and human rights globally. To stay silent and then go to Sri Lanka and accept their President, even symbolically, as leader of the Commonwealth for two years would be inappropriate, inconsistent and counter to our regional interests.

Yours sincerely

Jan Logie
Green Party Human Rights Spokesperson

2 Comments Posted

  1. As someone with family and roots in Sri Lanka, can I suggest that you do a lot more research before you post inflammatory comments like these!

    The reality of the Sri Lankan situation is that it is THE ONLY COUNTRY to bring to an end true terrorist warfare on its land. YES there have been things that Re not really what one would ideally desire, but terrorism is not desirable, and fighting fire with fire is a well established strategy with a high probability of success.

    The LTTE developed some horrendous approaches to terrorism. Their destruction of the central bank, creation of suicide squads, use of pregnant women as bombers, development of a drug transport merchant navy, abduction of children to be trained as terrorist soldiers, use of car bombs in civilian centres, extraction of funds from the Tamil diaspora by threat of, and actual, bodily harm and family murder, are all examples of how real terrorism on a localised basis can be delivered to a nominally “civilised and democratic society”.

    What was done to bring to an end the reign of terror of the LTTE was not “gentlemanly” nor, in many ways, civilised: however, it was successful and benefitted the vast majority of both Tamil and Sinhalese Sri Lankans. In the same way that some Green MPs insist that Civil Disobedience is justifiable, so too, sometimes aggressive destruction of terrorist organisations using ‘less’ than ‘generally acceptable Western Democratic’ tactics is justifiable.

    In the life of the average Sri Lankan family, (and mine in one of those,) life after the end of the LTTE’s war of terror is much betters nan life before or during it was. Go visit the country, meet and talk to the local people who suffered civil war for so e 20 years, AND THEN, if you still feel it appropriate, criticise the legally elected regime there (which I will campaign to replace at the next election for the same reason that my family campaigned to defeat Churchill in the UK. after WWII).

  2. Well done, Jan!! It’s time our Government ministers stood up for the appalling situation in Sri Lanka (not to mention West Papua). Unfortunately, I wouldn’t hold my breath with Minister McCully.

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