Abbott gets it wrong on Sri Lanka

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Do you remember when Tony Abbott defended Sri Lanka’s human rights record, saying the Rajapaksa government was committed to upholding the democratic charter of the Commonwealth but that “sometimes in difficult circumstances difficult things happen”? Yes, like torture. And murder.

He went to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka with nothing but praise for President Mahinda Rajapakse, rather than to “bury him under the weight of human rights abuse allegations” that had completely dominated the CHOGM.

“We are here to praise as much as judge,” he told the forum’s opening meeting, lauding the ending of Sri Lanka’s civil war, and the development in the country since.

While Tony Abbott is content with showering praise, meanwhile in the real world:

A tribunal of 11 eminent judges has unanimously found the Sri Lankan government guilty of the crime of genocide against ethnic Tamil people. Sitting in Bremen, from December 7 to 10, the Second Session of the Peoples’ Tribunal on Sri Lanka found that the crime of genocide has been and is being committed against the Eelam Tamils as a national group.

The tribunal found that genocide against the Eelam Tamil group has not yet reached the total destruction of their identity; however, the genocide is a process and the process is ongoing. The military killings of May 2009 have been transformed into other forms of conduct causing serious bodily and mental harm to members of the group. The tribunal considered that the proof established beyond any reasonable doubt that the following acts were committed by the government of Sri Lanka:

– Killing members of the group, which includes massacres, indiscriminate shelling, the strategy of herding civilians into so-called ”no fire zones” for the purpose of killings, targeted assassinations of outspoken Eelam Tamil civil leaders who were capable of articulating the Sri Lankan genocide project to the outside world.

– Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, including acts of torture, inhumane or degrading treatment, sexual violence including rape, interrogations combined with beatings, threats of death, and harm that damages health or causes disfigurement or injury.

– Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or part, including expulsion of the victims from their homes; and seizures of private lands; declaring vast areas as military high security zones to facilitate the military acquisition of Tamil land.

The tribunal undertook to further examine allegations of forced sterilisation of Tamil women.

Britain and the US were found to be guilty of complicity in the crime of genocide, including complicity by procuring means, such as weapons, instruments or any other means, used to commit genocide, with the accomplice knowing that such means would be used for such a purpose; and complicity by knowingly aiding or abetting a perpetrator of a genocide in the planning or enabling of such acts.

The tribunal recognised that Sri Lanka did not have the capacity to achieve genocide without assistance and, on the basis of evidence provided, came to the conclusion that Britain, the US and possibly India are guilty of complicity. However, due to the constraint of time, the tribunal limited its findings to Britain and the US, pending the availability of further evidence against India and other states.

After the recent gift of two patrol boats to Sri Lanka’s navy, Australia is in danger of being one of those states. The gift adds to the military capacity of the Rajapaksa regime to illegally detain and harm Tamil asylum seekers fleeing repression.

But in Abbott’s eyes it’s OK to donate two navy ships to Sri Lanka because they simply “promote enhanced collaboration on people smuggling”.

Is it really worth it? Is he that desperate to stop the boats that he’s happy to accept that the alternative for those people is that difficult things might happen to them?

Dan Rowden, on providing the link to the tribunal’s finding (above) on The AIMN summarises it better than anyone:

And this Government has now made Australia complicit. Whatever else this Government does I don’t think this one can be surpassed.

Abbott certainly got that one wrong, didn’t he?

37 comments on “Abbott gets it wrong on Sri Lanka

  1. “Is it really worth it? Is he that desperate to stop the boats that he’s happy to accept that the alternative for those people is that difficult things might happen to them?” As I see it, this rabble of wicked children led by their Jack Merridew leader are so mad to be able to state they’ve done what they claimed pre-election, nothing that will enable such claims is out of bounds.
    (Would’ve preferred to see the article end with the quotation: the final sentence unnecessary.)

  2. I’d love to see “difficult things” happen to him…it couldn’t happen to a more deserving person.

    Oh well, in the meantime, it looks like control of the senate will be put even further out of his reach.

  3. What can you honestly say about this man Michael? By his own admission ‘the jury’s still out on his PMship’ (The Age/SMH 3/1/14 photographed with his mentor John ‘I lost my seat’ Howard at the SCG today) The attacks on Medicare between Christmas and New Year, and the ABC yesterday. The glib argument from a tame ‘scientist’ that global warming can’t be analyzed or discussed due to the fact that its become ‘politicized’. The systematic dismantling of Australian manufacturing due to the desire to ‘let the market rule’. And perhaps the greatest hoax of all – that the government’s deficit is really a debt that needs to be repaid and has ballooned out of all proportion, therefore cuts have to be made to the NDIS, pensions, welfare payments and any other aspect of the safety nets which help prevent ordinary Australians from slipping into destitution and becoming homeless.
    No, I’d say that Tony has got everything right as far as the neo-libs are concerned, and in his three short months has become perhaps the most loathed prime minister in Australia’s history. Who knows, perhaps (if there’s any justice) he may follow in his mentor’s footsteps and become the third PM to lose his seat. Now wouldn’t that be an achievement?

  4. They decide to

    Precisley Jan

    The libs have not only their party, but ltdnews, the miners and the institue of (public) affairs to formulate their policy.

    No matter how ‘accidental’ it looks, it is all by design.

    You don’t think hockey just had a brain snap in QT when he dared Holden to leave do you? They got what they wanted, the death of a highly unionised work force. And, worst than that, a globally competitive unionised work force.

  5. and the ABC yesterday

    I noticed on the news tonight that murdoch had sold off shares in a Chinese media company. I wondered if this had anything to do with the libs current attack on the Asian arm of the ABC (I don’t recall the title)?

    Is it getting served up on a plate for him?

  6. Marcus; Control of the Senate is only out of Abbott’s reach until June and very much will depend on whether WA will have to go the polls again. Even if the High Court upholds the current status quo re WA senators, you can bet your bottom dollar that Abbott and the Murdoch MSM will crank up the ‘obstructionist’ argument (around April would be my guess) and hammer at it long, hard and above all, loud!

  7. I’ve posted “like” because the content is informative, but really the actions of this Federal government are quite disgusting. Just when you think they’ve hit rock bottom, they did further into the gutter.

  8. I understand that, Edward, but its looking increasingly likely that they *will* go back to the polls &, based on current polling, it could go very badly for Abbott.

  9. Marcus,
    Remember we are talking about Western Australia – dunno that “very badly” is likely. Maybe, just maybe, “a bit badly”.

  10. “Whatever else this Government does I don’t think this one can be surpassed.”

    Give it time mate… Give it time 😉

  11. The current government and the previous Rudd/Gillard governments are completely aware of the continuing human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. Australia was party to a US led censure motion in the UN in 2013 and also aware of the UK High Court ruling in 2013 stopping the forced deportation of Tamils for the UK because of human rights abuses. When Tamils with negative assessments get legal representation their assessments are changed to positive to avoid an adverse ruling in the High Court.

  12. Fiona, even according to a Newspoll, their support is down around 7% from the election-well above the National Trend. I think that could translate into a bad outcome for Abbott.

  13. We are witnessing the Death-Throws of The Lucky Country… and there are only a few months to revive it.
    “Rabbott” said just after the election that we wouldn’t recognise the place after three years … well guess what, he was truthful in that statement.
    The “Coots-With-Queer-ideas-from-a-Parallel-Universe” (IPA) need to be taken-on publicly and exposed as the paid charlatans they are for mining and tobacco and every Liarbril pollie should have less than comfortable visits from their constituents.
    Their cages need rattling!

  14. I was appalled at Abbott’s decision to “gift” 2 patrol boats to Sri Lanka. Of course he knew what was going on there with regard to the treatment of the Tamil minority. He doesnt long as he can boast he “stopped” the boats. Australia will be complicit in many atrocities before he is eventually thrown out. Not just our worst PM but also our most dangerous.

  15. lawrencewinder; ‘Their cages need rattling’ Damn right! One of the best ways to rattle neo-libs cages is to point out the flaws in their philosophy of ‘supply side’ economics which has driven us into to this mess. This can be done through familiarizing yourself with Modern Monetary Theory (click on Bill Mitchell’s blog on the blog roll on the Cafe Whispers page) I know that I bang on about this, (its a bit like living in the 14th. century and trying to convince people that history is the result of cause and effect and not divine intervention) but it is the best tool available to destroy neo-libs arguments about ‘budget blow-outs’ and the need to cut costs (have you seen the headlines in todays Age/SMH? Now they’re saying that funding Medicare is ‘unsustainable’ – This is complete and utter bullshit! Find out why by visiting Bill’s site, or type in MMT to the YouTube search engine to learn more.
    The sooner the Left, The Greens, the ALP get their head around this, the sooner they’ll be in government. Spread the word!

  16. Edward Esatwood: While I appreciate your intentions, pointing out the ill-informed irrationality of their argument to such folk will have little effect. The only thing that will stop them is some kind of force and luckily in OZ we still have elections in order to forcefully remove criminals from office.

  17. Sucked in I say

    AS POLITICAL honeymoons go Tony Abbott’s has proved elusive, even invisible. Mr Abbott (pictured above) became Australia’s prime minister almost four months ago, when he led the conservative Liberal-National coalition to a comfortable victory over an unpopular Labor government. By the end of the year, however, the unpopularity had shifted to the new government. No prime minister in memory has fallen so quickly from voters’ grace.

  18. lawrencewinder’s mention of the Lucky Country is similar to what I often bang on about. This government seems to think the Lucky Country’s luck will just keep holding out & that meantimes they can just do whatever they want.

    In terms of Abbott getting it wrong about Sri Lanka, I agree with Truth Seeker- what’s he got right? But it doesn’t mater as they’re no doubt going to Hell anyway.

  19. what’s he got right?

    That the jury is still out on his performance.

    Mind you, the deliberations are not looking good to date for a positive judgement 😉

  20. ‘Bailff, what did the defendant say in response to the jury’s verdict and before sentence is pronounced?’
    ‘He said; “Fuck all” your worship!’
    ‘That’s strange, I could have sworn his lips were moving!’

  21. Those who voted for this team of nincompoops to govern Australia and keep good relations with our Asian neighbours should learn never to trust the MSM, especially Murdoch’s … We are now the laughing stock of the world … What a change Australia has seen since September 7th …

  22. This is Abbott.

    Lyn Bender asks the important question: What if Tony Abbott is not, in fact, evil but is just, simply, an idiot

    …….The Peter Principle ‒ enunciated by Dr Lawrence Peter ‒ describes the dogged employee who, through sheer perseverance, gains steady promotion until he arrives at his level of incompetence. Or, as has been stated more succinctly — cream rises until it sours.

    Might this apply to our recently elected prime minister, Tony Abbott?

    Viewed solely in terms of his history of climbing the political ladder, Tony Abbott has succeeded where many predicted he would fail. He has achieved his elevation despite being generally and consistently unpopular. This was reported even in his earliest political days, at Sydney University. As president of the Student Representative Council, Abbott expressed views that were loathed by many of the students he was meant to represent. He was vociferously heckled on campus.

    As one commentator wrote, at 22, he was sounding like a ‘young fogey’. His rigidly held non-progressive views were already apparent…………,6034

  23. Bettsie, such is Abbott’s complete incompetence.. This was the interpretation from The Age in November:

    …the Abbott government appears to be setting a new standard for diplomatic ineptitude. The Prime Minister in particular has lurched from one mistake to another, with each episode more ham-fisted than the last.

    Below is the experience of a Tamil refugee forcibly returned to her homeland (by the UK) on the promise by the Sri Lankan government that returnees would suffer no discrimination:

    “I was taken away at the airport and interrogated for 24 hours,” Mrs Rajendran, a slight 49-year-old woman who speaks almost at a whisper, told The Independent. “Then I was taken to another place. They started ill-treating me there. I was kicked, punched, they stripped me. I was sexually assaulted and raped.”

    Multiple human rights groups have documented cases where those returning to Sri Lanka have been severely tortured…The problem is so endemic that medical experts at Freedom from Torture say the referral rate from Sri Lanka is the highest they have seen from any country since the group was founded in 1985.

  24. this is not Australia as we know it any more abbott has destroyed it and he is,nt finished yet.from day 1 ive been saying he,s dangerous,and things are getting worse.he has great pleasure in telling us ozzies he is the boss and at any cost.he thinks he is untouchable’libs will go down in history for destroying what was a wonderful country

  25. We need More and More Protest marches like todays anti medicare Impost, lets get organising, Abbott needs good publicity Gatherings like today will highlight his Incompetence also He will deny it was ever going to Happen, Dutton was out there to test the mood of the People , He did not announce it similar to thee Quadruple backflip on Gonski, Pyneoccio was the fall guy for that, Keep protesting about these People , Keep informing People of the truth, I am Predicting Murdoch is going to get the ABC international Broadcasting rights pretty soon, I also predicted Abbotts charm Offensive ,Trot the wife out, The old ” People are unsure of me Line”, 20 years in parliament some in Government as a minister and we are to believe we need to give him time, , Time to GO TO

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