Australian Senator for New South Wales, Lee Rhiannon, called on the Government of Sri Lanka to show its commitment to reconciliation by de-militarizing the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
Addressing Australia’s Tamil community at an event last week to commemorate Maaverar Day (Martyrs’ Day) Rhiannon said “If the new regime is genuine about reconciliation then there must be an immediate end to the military presence in the North and East.”
“I spoke a few weeks ago in Parliament about the Tamil political prisoners that were on hunger strike. Yesterday I learned of an 18-year-old student in Jaffna who tragically took his life in protest against the President’s continuing incarceration of Tamil political detainees. I am going to read you one sentence in the letter he has left behind for all of us. Not a single Tamil political prisoner can remain imprisoned any longer. This young man who wrote these words is no longer with us. And this is very sad. But, let such a tragedy never happen again. No more Tamils must sacrifice their lives for freedom and justice. Although the Tamil prisoners have temporarily ended their hunger strike, their plight must not be forgotten. They must be given a general amnesty and the Prevention of Terrorism Act must be repealed. I will continue to speak about them in the Australian Parliament.”
Commenting on the formation of a new government she added that the defeat of the Rajapaksa government has seen a shift in geopolitical interests. “Understanding how to respond to the new complexities that you are facing will be challenging. If the new regime is genuine about reconciliation then there must be an immediate end to the military presence in the North and East. I urge you to continue to mobilize politically both domestically and internationally and to continue to be a strong, united and unwavering voice for justice,” the Senator said.