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Sri Lanka Human Rights

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Slides from the 2019 Public Forum "Sri Lanka to Australia: From Persecution to Detention": https://refugeeaction.org/events/public-forum-sri-lanka-to-australia/

How is it possible that a family, seeking asylum and the chance to build a new life in Australia, can be dragged from their beds and into detention?

This public forum examines Australia's refugee assessment process, and our government's assurances that Sri Lanka is now safe for Tamils. Our speakers will shine a spotlight on the current refugee claims process in Australia and the impact that it has on applicants, sometimes with horrendous consequences. The forum will also look at the circumstances that caused Priya and Nades and thousands of other Tamils to flee Sri Lanka. Speakers will also scrutinise the Morrison government's assurances that Sri Lanka is now safe for Tamils.

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Sri Lanka Human Rights

  1. 1. Sri Lanka: Human Rights
  2. 2. Sri Lanka: 3Kingdoms-Jaffna/ Kotte/ Kandyan
  3. 3. Independence from British in 1948 • Majority Sinhalese took power • No safe guards for minorities on the Island – Tamils/ Burgers/ Muslims • Laws passed to discriminate Sinhala the official language of the Island Buddhism the Religion of the Island Indian origin Tamils disenfranchised – made stateless University Entrance prioritised for Sinhala Students-no longer merit based Sinhala only exam – Tamils in government service to sit Sinhala exam Colonisation programmes
  4. 4. Tamil Peaceful Protest • Tamils worked politically to be recognised and have equality • Peaceful protest met by State aided violence • Younger generation frustrated - denied their language and religion -denied University Entrance -denied equal opportunity for jobs
  5. 5. 1983 Anti Tamil Riots • LTTE ambush and kill 13 Sri Lankan Soldiers • Sinhala mobs aided by the State launch widespread violence throughout the island • Killing Tamil Civilians • Destroying Tamil Homes and Businesses • Tamils Flee to the North and East to their Homeland or flee abroad for safety
  6. 6. The Tamil Armed Struggle • For 26years the Tamils under the LTTE fought for Independence of the Tamil Homeland for peace, equality and development that is not achieved under successive Sinhala governments, its armed forces and police
  7. 7. Human Rights Violations State Aided Terrorism • Arrest/ Torture/ Rape/ Disappearances and Killings of Tamils • Destruction of Tamil homes • Bombings of Hospitals/ Churches/ Temples and schools and orphanages by the Sri Lankan Government and its armed forces • Sinhala Colonisation of Tamil Homelands with armed home guards
  8. 8. GENOCIDE: 2009 • Sri Lankan State and its armed forces with the assistance of International governments aim to capture the LTTE strong holds in the North and East of the Island • 70,000 Killed through indiscriminate bombings • Surrendered LTTE Cadres extra judicially killed • 20,000 Disappeared • Bombings of homes, hospitals, schools, temples and churches • No fire zones purposely targeted
  9. 9. Tamils Flee from the Island if they can • Tamils flee the Island in fear of their lives Arrest/ Torture/ Rape Disappearances Killings Harassment from Police and armed forces
  10. 10. GENOCIDE: The Evidence No fire Zones targeted by Sri Lankan Armed Forces 70,000 Tamils Civilians Killed Hospitals Targeted
  11. 11. On 14 August 2006, 53 schoolgirls and three teachers in Mullaitivu were killed by the Sri Lankan air force who bombed the Sencholai school in Vallipunam
  12. 12. Extra-judicial Killings
  13. 13. Rape of Tamil Women
  14. 14. Protestors held photographs of the Tamil children and babies who had disappeared when their families surrendered to the Sri Lankan army in May 2009.
  15. 15. Sri Lankan court acquits soldiers over gang rape of Tamil woman • 11 October 2019 • A Sri Lankan court has acquitted four soldiers over the gang rape of a Tamil woman, after they had been found guilty and sentenced for the crime in 2015. • The four soldiers from Sri Lanka’s 572 Brigade, identified by The Island as P. I. Sunasinghe, D. Dhammika Pushpakumara, Priyantha Kumara and one other soldier, had initially been found guilty of raping the 27-year old Tamil mother of two in Kilinochchi in 2010, by the Jaffna High Court in 2015. They had been sentenced to at least 25 years imprisonment. • However, Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal acquitted the four men, according to The Island. • In 2015, then Judge M Elancheliyan said the crime was “unbearable and unforgivable since the victim’s dignity was damaged by them after the end of the war”. • A report by Yasmin Sooka, The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) and The International Truth & Justice Project (ITJP) previously detailed the incident, which involved the soldiers sexually abusing another Tamil woman. The report said: • "When the victim, who could identify the alleged perpetrators, reported the crime to the local military camp, she was told to have a bath first. Then she was offered money by the military to go away but she insisted on lodging a complaint with the police. A judicial medical report confirmed sexual assault. At a court hearing in which the victim identified her attackers, there were reportedly a hundred military men present to intimidate the victim. The accused were arrested but released on bail after five months. Since then, one has been absconding from the hearings, while the victim has been repeatedly harassed and threatened by military and police, most recently in February and March 2014."
  16. 16. Journalists Murdered 19 Journalists Killed between 1992-2019 -Committee to protect journalists
  17. 17. Intimidation of Tamils Abroad
  18. 18. MILITARISATION of North East
  19. 19. Tamil families of the disappeared in Vavuniya continued their protest for the 981st day
  20. 20. Soldiers intimidate Keppapulavu families demanding release of land
  21. 21. • The US State Department released its 2018 report on the human rights this month, raising ongoing concerns in Sri Lanka of impunity, arbitrary detention, unlawful killings, torture, sexual abuse and media intimidation. • The report highlighted several killings that have taken place in Sri Lanka, including that of a Tamil man in Ariyalai in 2017 and two Jaffna University students in 2016. “There were reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings,” it said. • “There were reports of harassment and intimidation of journalists when covering sensitive issues,” the report noted, highlighting the Tamil Guardian journalist Uthayarasa Shalin, who faced months of harassment and targeting, including the summoning and questioning of his friends and family members purportedly based on his coverage of a Hindu temple festival where a map of the Tamil homeland was displayed.
  22. 22. TID Arrest Senior Tamil Doctor – Kilinochchi 18th August 2019
  23. 23. Former NPC member summoned by Sri Lanka terrorism division
  24. 24. Human Skeletal remains uncovered in Mullaitivu Oct 2019
  25. 25. Refugees • Tamils have fled the Island since 1983 to all parts of the world • When returned are arrested at Colombo airport and presented to Negombo Court • Monthly reporting to local police station • Harrassed and at risk of torture, sexual violence and disappearance
  26. 26. British Tamils Rally against Deportation to Sri Lanka
  27. 27. Sri Lanka remains unsafe for Tamils
  28. 28. Information Source: • International Truth and Justice Project • Pearl • Tamil guardian • Amnesty International • Human Rights Watch • US State Department Reports • Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice • Asylum research consultancy

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