Tell Australia to hold Sri Lanka to account

I’m proud to have been asked to sign this important petition and happy it’s been covered in the Colombo Telegraph:

Malcolm Fraser, the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia has endorsed the petition for Commonwealth Summit in Australia- Reconsider attending CHOGM 2013 in Sri Lanka launched jointly by Australian Tamil Congress and Sri Lanka campaign for peace and justice.

The petition “Petitioning Hon Julia Gillard -… Prime Minister: Reconsider CHOGM 2013 in Sri Lanka” says;

Dear Prime Minister,

We urge you to reconsider Australia’s decision to attend CHOGM 2013 in Sri Lanka.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meets in less than a month (April 26). The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is in less than nine months. It is due to be held in a country where a brutal tyrannical regime continues to commit acts of murder, torture, and rape – while ignoring the core values of the Commonwealth. People are looking to you for leadership.

We appeal to you to follow the example of your Canadian colleague Prime Minister Stephen Harper and announce that you will not attend if you do not see progress in Sri Lanka in terms of human rights and that you will push for CHOGM to be moved or postponed.

The petitioners say; “The Human Rights Council has once again condemned Sri Lanka’s human rights record, this time in even more damning terms. This is great news for everyone who cares about Sri Lanka – but to turn it into meaningful action we need your help.

So in the next month we need our leaders to show leadership, and show the Commonwealth that it must not be business as usual.

They can do this by following the Canadian Prime Minister’s example and announcing that if the summit goes ahead in Sri Lanka, without an improvement in the human rights situation there, then they will not attend.

This is the most effective way we can put the pressure on the Commonwealth to act.

Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Geoffrey Robertson QC, the Royal Commonwealth society President Peter Kellner, Bloomberg, The Age, … the Washington Post, the Guardian, prominent Caribbean diplomat Sir Ronald Saunders, David Milliband, Malcolm Rifkind, Ricken Patel (the founder of Avaaz),… Amnesty International,the International Commission of Jurors, Forum Asia, the Asian Legal Resource Centre, Civicus, the Commonwealth Journalists Association, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, the Human Rights Law Centre (Australia), Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, the International Federation for Human Rights, Minority Rights Group International, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and a number of Sri Lankan NGOs have all expressed grave concerns about the human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, and the summit being held there. “

The petition has been endorsed by:

* Professor Raj Rajeswaran, Chairman, Australian Tamil Congress

*… Hon Malcolm Fraser, Former Australian Prime Minister

* Lee Rhiannon, Senator, The Australian Greens

* David Shoebridge, Member of the NSW Legislative Council, The Greens

* Colleen Hartland, Member of the Victorian Legislative Council, The Greens

* Bruce Haigh, Former Australian Deputy High Commissioner in Sri Lanka

* Professor Jake Lynch, Director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney

*… Professor Damien Kingsbury, Director, Centre for Citizenship, Development and Human RightsFaculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University

* Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees AM, Director, Sydney Peace Foundation

* Antony Loewenstein, Independent journalist and author

* Professor Wendy Bacon, Australian academic and investigative journalist

Click… here… to see the petition

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