Prominent Australians, including human rights lawyer Mr. Julian Burnside AO QC and world renowned landscaper and TV personality Mr. Jamie Durie, have joined a list of signatories urging the Rudd Government to help end the human rights and humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka.
Several non-Australians, including former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan Mr. Doug Bandow, have also shown support to the ‘Sri Lankan Crisis Statement’, which can be found at http://www.srilankancrisis.com
Australian signatories include:
• Mr. Julian Burnside AO QC, Australian Barrister, Human Rights and Refugee Advocate and Author, Victoria
• Mr. Jamie Durie, Australian Landscaper and Television Personality, NSW
• Prof. Wendy Bacon, Professor of Journalism, University of Technology, NSW
• Prof. Chris Nash, Professor of Journalism, Monash University, Victoria
• Emeritus Prof. Ivan Shearer AM, University of Sydney, NSW
• Prof. John Whitehall, Paediatrician, Queensland
• Emeritus Prof. Stuart Rees, Director, Sydney Peace Foundation, University of Sydney, NSW
• Prof. Damien Kingsbury, Associate Professor, Deakin University, Victoria
• Hon. Ian Cohen, Member of the Legislative Council, NSW
• Hon. Lee Rhiannon, Member of the Legislative Council, NSW
• Hon. John Kaye, Member of the Legislative Council, NSW
• Hon. Colleen Hartland, Member of the Legislative Council, Victoria
• Hon. Mike Reynolds AM MP, Member for Townsville, Queensland
• Mr. Jake Lynch, Director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney, NSW
• Prof. Andrea Durbach, Associate Professor and Director of Australasian Human Rights Centre, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales, NSW
• Dr. Susan Harris Rimmer, President, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, ACT
The 25 year-old war in Sri Lanka is a largely unreported conflict. An estimated 250,000 civilians are trapped in an active war-zone under daily aerial bombing and artillery attack.
For every day it continues, medical officials in the region have estimated that 50-60 people will die and many more will be injured. Continuous calls for a cease-fire by international governments and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been rejected by the Government of Sri Lanka.
On 5 February 2009 the Government of Australia released a statement highlighting it “reiterates its call for a political solution to this conflict. The long-term security and prosperity of Sri Lanka will only be achieved through a political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of all Sri Lankans”.
Numerous Western governments have expressed similar sentiments. However the conflict continues to escalate. This must end.
Governments, media and aid groups must continue to place pressure on the Government of Sri Lanka to cease its military offensive which has seen the death of 2000 Tamil civilians this year alone.