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Greens call on Australia to end its silence on Sri Lanka's atrocities

The Australian Greens today call on the Government to stand up for the human rights abuses and condemn the Rajapakse regime.

"It is obvious the Australian Government is more interested in collaborating with the Sri Lankan government and navy with regard to trying to stop people seeking asylum than addressing the reasons why they are seeking asylum in the first place." Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.

"It is not good enough to just accept without further investigation the Rajapakse Government's assurances."

"Post-war Sri Lanka is anything but rosy. Abuses are occurring there right now." Greens International Aid and Development spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.

"We now have evidence that Tamil men and women in custody have been raped and abused.

"The world has seen pictorial evidence of the cold blooded execution by Sri Lankan officials of the 12 year old son of the leader of the Tamil Tigers after his capture by the military.

"Last year the President impeached the country's Supreme court judge.

"It is distressing that while the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Bishop Desmond Tutu, the first female President of Ireland Mary Robinson and United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay can see that President Rajapakse must be held accountable, Australia is doing everything it can to accommodate the Sri Lankan regime."

"Shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who recently visited the country and painted a rosy picture upon her return, clearly did not speak to Sri Lankan human rights advocates."

"The Greens support an independent international investigation and Australia should be working to strengthen the draft US-led resolution currently before the UN Human Rights Council, which is extremely weak and does not back calls for an international independent investigation into war crimes committed during the final stages of the war." Senator Christine Milne said.

"The Greens oppose the recognition of the credentials for the Sri Lankan High Commissioner, Thisara Samarasinghe, who was a commander of the Sri Lankan navy during the last days of the war when extreme atrocities were reported.

"The Australian Greens support the Tamil community and their friends for today's action at Federal Parliament against the brutal Rajapakse regime and called on the government to follow other world leaders in demanding full human and political rights for all Sri Lankans.

"It's time Australia started to lead in the region, not just look away." 

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