Tuesday February 27, 2007 10:30am WST
For Immediate Release
Bill Farmer, former Sri Lankan, Major-General Janaka Perera parties to the meetings?
"Sending the 83 Sri Lankan asylum seekers currently held on Christmas Island to Indonesia, no matter whether Indonesia would guarantee their safety, would immediately put all their families in Sri Lanka at the risk of being arrested, imprisoned, tortured and killed, because their names and details would be shared with Sri Lankan High Commissioner Janaka Perera, who was under a cloud when he was the High Commissioner Designate to Australia some years ago," WA Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"At the time the former Major-General in the Sri Lankan Army was proposed to become the High Commissioner to Australia for Sri Lanka, Amnesty International Australia expressed grave concerns in the Australian media about his pending appointment, and suggested that before his appointment the shadow of possible War Crimes was lifted by means of a thorough investigation in his past while being in charge of the Sri Lankan Jaffna province, spokesman Jack H Smit said."
"At the time, Amnesty told Australian television (Channel Nine) that until human rights allegations against Janaka Perera are fully investigated he should not be accepted by the Australian Government."
"Sources allege that Janaka Perera was responsible for the killing of 680 Tamils while in charge in the Jaffna province in Sri Lanka," Mr Smit said.
"Of course, if this is true, then Mr Perera would share personal details with the Sri Lankan government, and their families would be at serious risk of being targeted by the authorities."
"Bringing the Sri Lankans within the vicinity of Mr Janaka Perera is equivalent to notifying the local SS office of a shipment of Jews having arrived in town, and allowing the SS to take their photographs. It seems that the Immigration Minister is either totally incompetent to hold his portfolio, or refuses to look at the facts that blatantly stare him in the face. He would endanger all the families of the refugees back in Sri Lanka," Mr Smit said.
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]