Australian Tamils demand intl probe into Lanka `war crimes`
Last Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 22:54
Melbourne: Tamils in Australia have asked Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd to support calls for an international probe into alleged war crimes committed in the final stages of Sri Lanka's civil war.

It is the time Australia "shows some leadership and speaks out and calls on the Sri Lankan government to allow an international independent investigation into war crimes", said Sam Pari of Australian Tamil Congress.

"If Colombo fails to do so then Australia should take a strong stand and impose trade sanctions or travel bans on Sri Lankan government officials," she was quoted as saying by Australia's public broadcaster 'ABC'.

Pari said the group had previously asked former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to take stronger diplomatic action against Sri Lanka.

"Now Rudd is our foreign minister and it gives him an opportunity to finally speak up and show some leadership when it comes to human rights abuses in the Asia-Pacific region."

Pari said she hoped Gillard will raise the issue with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting scheduled to be held in Perth later this year.

Earlier, a UN panel said killing of tens of thousands of people in the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil strife could amount to "war crimes".

However, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon an international probe will only be launched if Sri Lanka agrees or member states call for it.


First Published: Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 22:54

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