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Tamil Refugee Council condemns Australia for donating surveillance weapons to Sri Lanka despite human rights concerns

The Tamil Refugee Council have criticised the Australian government for overlooking the “new warnings that the political situation in Sri Lanka is deteriorating” and supplying Sri Lankan police with five aerial drones.

In a statement released on Sunday 18th April, the Tamil Refugee Council highlighted the Australian Border Forces claims that the gifted drones will be utilised for “crime-fighting” purposes and stressed concerns that this move “will likely be used to help prevent Tamils from fleeing Sri Lanka and to monitor political activists”.    

The Australian government has supplied five aerial drones to the Sri Lankan police, despite international scrutiny at the United Nations Human Rights Council for its domestic “assault on justice.”

The statement also noted the worrying escalation of harassment of civil society groups and remerged scrutiny of “assault of justice” in Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

In 2013, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott gifted two patrol boats to Sri Lanka to stop Tamil asylum seekers fleeing the country. A correspondent, Amanda Hodge noted in 2015 that former prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe claimed, “the Australian government’s silence on alleged human rights abuses was the price it paid to secure co-operation from the former Rajapaksa government on stopping asylum-seeker boats”.

The Tamil Refugee Council urged the Australian government to stop providing Sri Lanka with equipment and weapons that may “aid its ongoing oppression and persecution of Tamils”.

Read the full statement here.

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