Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Socialist candidate calls for action to end war on Tamils

Socialist Alliance candidate Sam Wainwright, who is running in Saturday's by-election in Fremantle - pledged his support for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Wainwright also called on Labor’s candidate, Peter Tagliaferri, to take action to encourage Stephen Smith and the Rudd government to support the Tamil people and put diplomatic pressure on the Sri Lankan Government to halt the Sri Lankan Army’s offensive.

Wainwright said, “The Socialist Alliance has a long record of supporting struggles for justice around the world. The Tamil people in Sri Lanka having been engaged in a struggle for equal rights with the Sinhala majority, almost since Sri Lanka won independence from Britain in 1948. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were formed in wake of years of state supported violence and the refusal of successive Sri Lankan governments to acknowledge the democratic aspirations of the Tamil minority”.

The LTTE was formed in 1972 and has been engaged in an armed struggle to win a Tamil homeland in the North and East of Sri Lanka for 31 years.

Wainwright continued, “The current offensive follows the collapse of peace talks in 2006. The Sri Lankan Army hope this will be the final offensive that will not only military destroy the LTTE but also shatter the Tamil people’s aspirations. With 4000 civilians slaughtered and 150, 000 people displaced this year alone, the Sri Lankan government will only succeed in deepening the desire of Tamil people for separation .”

“In the present circumstances the Australian government should be demanding that the Sri Lankan government implement an immediate ceasefire. The Australian government should suspend all diplomatic, military, economic and cultural ties with the Sri Lankan administration if it does not meet this demand. The failure of the Rudd government to clearly condemn the Sri Lankan government’s assault on the Tamil makes it complicit in the Sri Lankan Army’s war crimes”.

“What the Tamil people need is support from the international community. This is difficult since anyone sending aid into the North or East of Sri Lanka risks being labeled a ‘terrorist’ by the Sri Lankan government. We should also be offering Tamils the opportunity to seek refuge outside of Sri Lanka, including here in Australia. I encourage Peter Tagliaferri to support the Tamil people and to call on his own party and in particular Stephen Smith and Kevin Rudd to take action to support the human rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka.”

For more comment contact Sam Wainwright 0412 751 508 or fremantle@socialist-alliance.org