ABCTV News24 on human rights in China, Gitmo torture and Sri Lankan war crimes

I appeared last night on ABCTV News 24’s The Drum alongside ABC journalist Marius Benson and lobbyist Sue Cato (video here).

While China, we learn via Wikileaks, ignores Australia’s supposed concerns for human rights, I asked if Prime Minister Julia Gillard actually cared about human rights as there had been no public comments from her after this week’s Guantanamo Bay files on countless innocent prisoners tortured by the world’s super-power. US crimes are not abuses in the eyes of our political and media elites. The words “human rights” are used as a political weapon as opposed to being something to cherish. Gillard’s current trip to China is solely about trade and military ties. Can the media and politicians be honest about this, please?

We discussed the alleged medical experimentation in Guantanamo Bay and the doctors complicit in the process. Both David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib have accused the US of doing this to them and yet we still don’t take their allegations seriously; how much did the Australian government know?

Finally, the UN report on war crimes in Sri Lanka during the country’s civil war (the massive allegations have unsurprisingly been denied by Colombo). The fact that up to 40,000 innocents may have been murdered by Sri Lanka (and far less by the Tamil Tigers) requires a robust and international trial. I called on Australia and the global community to back a transparent inquiry (a position supported by a Guardian editorial). Like the Goldstone report into Israeli and Hamas crimes, this latest UN investigation warrants the most serious response, despite China, the US, the West and Australia all likely to not show much enthusiasm.

Sadly, Canberra is more concerned about working with Colombo to stop poor Tamils getting onto boats and coming to Australia. So much for our priority ever being human rights accountability.