Bruce Haigh, a former Australian diplomat who served in Sri Lanka and a member of the Refugee Review Tribunal, has written, slamming Australia for being complicit in the genocide of Tamils and called for the country to cut sporting ties with the country. His comments come as the Sri Lankan cricket team begin their tour of Australia. Extracts have been reproduced below.
“Who would have thought that in 17 years, Australia could have gone from being a leading champion in the global fight to end the racial discrimination of apartheid to siding with the corrupt and venal government of Sri Lanka in the genocide of Tamils.” “Australia has become complicit in the genocide of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority. Asylum seekers that arrive in Australia are being given no opportunity to make a statement of claims. Acting on the advice of the Sri Lankan government, they are being returned to Sri Lanka on the basis that they have no claims. Any claim they make is regarded as spurious.” “Six hundred Sri Lankan asylum seekers have been removed from Australia since August. Refugee advocates refer to what is occurring to the asylum seekers as refoulement.” “Refoulement is against Australian and international law. It occurs when a state or organisation returns an asylum seeker or refugee to a place, ”… where his (sic) life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”. The avoidance of refoulement is a basic tenet of refugee law.” “The issue for Australians to ponder is this; the object of cruel political expediency may be people without citizenship at the moment, but how long will it be before some among us might be declared a threat to state security and targeted and persecuted for perceived political gain. Given what is occurring at the moment, it is not much of a jump.” “The Sri Lanka cricket team are touring Australia until January 28. The season kicks off in Canberra and includes Tests in Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney, plus one-day games. There was a time when Australia boycotted sport, in particular cricket, with countries that abused human rights, including South Africa and Zimbabwe. Why are we playing cricket with Sri Lanka?” (TG)]]>