News

Ranil alleges Australia over ‘price of boats deal’

23 February 2015 - 86   - 0

Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, claims 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. In an exclusive interview with The Australian, the veteran polit­ician also said that Tony Abbott’s close relationship with the Rajapaksas was “a mystery” to Sri ­Lankans, and that Australia’s ­new Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, would be unlikely to get the warm welcome received under the previous ­government. In a weekend interview at the Prime Minister’s official Temple Trees residence in Colombo, Mr Wickremesinghe confirmed the involvement of “people connected to the previous government” in people-smuggling operations. “It was being done by people with Rajapaksa connections, but once this deal was done between Australia and the Rajapaksa government, where you looked the other way (on human rights abuses), then secretary of defence got the navy to patrol,” he told The Australian. “You could not have got anyone out of this country without someone in the security system looking the other way, the police or the navy.” He understood people-smuggling was a major issue for Australia and his government would continue to crack down on departures. “This should have been done anyway (by the Rajapaksa government) but they didn’t do it. They wanted to strike deals,” he said. The Sri Lankan Prime Minister said former immigration minister Scott Morrison had breached protocol by refusing to meet with then opposition Tamil National Alli­ance politicians when he last visit­ed Sri Lanka and as a result his successor could receive a frosty reception from the TNA, now a key member of the new ­ruling coalition. “It was a slip-up on the part of the Australian side,’’ he said. “I am not against the Australian government, but I think you must learn from your experiences. Some other countries must also that fully backed the Rajapaksa regime. When human rights were being trampled, and democracy was at bay, these countries were sil­ent. That is an issue for Sri Lanka.” Australia has been accused of refusing to speak out on alleged war crimes committed in the last months of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war with Tamil separatists in which as many as 40,000 civilians were killed, and on subsequent ­allegations of human rights ­abuses, because it needed the Sri Lankan government’s support to stop the flow of boats. While fellow Western nations have pushed for an independent investigation through the UN Human Rights Council, Australia has said it is not its place to publicly lecture Sri Lanka on human rights. Mr Wickremesinghe, the 65-year-old leader of Sri Lanka’s ­centre-right United National Party, became Prime Minister for the third time last month after ­former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and his powerful family were voted out of government. The new administration has promised to punish those who ­illegally profited under the Rajapaksa regime’s “crony capitalism”. (The Australian)

  Comments - 0

  • Leave a comment



Top Stories

Newly appointed Jaffna Commander meets with Northern Governor

The newly appointed Commander of the Security Force Headquarters – Jaffna, Major General Ruwan Wanigasooriya called on Northern Governor Sure...

16 July 2019 - Views : 4

Three faculties at Ruhuna University to resume study sessions

16 July 2019

Five bailed out suspects arrested in Kalutara

16 July 2019

'Dengue Prevention Hour' to be introduced on Fridays - NDCU

16 July 2019



style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-6200193111498313"
data-ad-slot="1999573490">

 

Features & Analysis

Car-free day draws a crowd

Colombo’s first open street concept day saw residents reclaiming their streets from Green Path to Independ...

Reviving our island spirit - #DineEscapeRebuild

The Island Story, a brand new travel company with a fresh perspective on travel is collaborating with Botanik Rooftop...

Huawei shutterbug competition "Beautiful Sri Lanka" ends on a high

Huawei recently organized a competition for shutterbugs under the theme "Beautiful Sri Lanka" The w...

Hidden coral reef discovered off Kankasanthurai harbour

A diving team attached to the Northern Naval Command recently discovered a beautiful coral reef which remained a well...



style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-6200193111498313"
data-ad-slot="1999573490">