Australian Tamil Congress
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former defence secretary and alleged war criminal, has been elected as Sri Lanka’s next president.
The Tamil community within the island had participated in large numbers exercising its democratic will. However, analysis of results show that the country’s ethnic division is at its deepest, with areas comprising the Tamil homeland in the NorthEast of the island voting against Mr. Rajapaksa. This forecasts a great challenge that lays ahead for genuine ‘reconciliation’, as well as legitimate fears of further violence and persecution of communities that are perceived to not have contributed towards Mr. Rajapaksa’s election win.
While the protest of families of disappeared Tamils seeking information on their loved ones who went missing after being taken into custody by Sri Lankan Armed Forces has now reached over 1000 days one of the main claims in Mr. Rajapaksa’s campaign was that he would not recognise an agreement between the Sri Lankan government and UN Human Rights Council to investigate alleged war crimes during the island’s ethnic war.
The Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) calls on the Australian government to use its relationship with Sri Lanka to monitor and ensure that rights within the island of human rights defenders, journalists and Tamil activists are not curtailed, and that the Tamil community which has been subjected to persecution, violence and abuses by successive Sri Lankan governments for decades is yet again not punished for simply exercising their democratic will.