Reply to Senator Lee Rhiannon’s Speech in Australian Senate.
Posted on August 26th, 2012

Association for Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (ARRR) P.O.Box 8180, Burwood Heights, Victoria 3151

Hon Senator Lee Rhiannon

Australian Greens Party

Australian Parliament

Dear Senator Rhiannon,

Re: Your recent speech in the Senate on Sri Lanka.

Your above speech, while centred on good intentions was based on a report prepared by an affiliate of the Catholic Church in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.  You have also claimed that you were speaking on behalf of Tamils living in Australia, which number obviously does not include thousands like me, who have visited Sri Lanka in recent years and have made the effort to both see and experience the situation there.

I am attaching herewith a point by point response to the report by the Jaffna Catholic Church affiliate.  I object to many issues raised in this report, because further, I am taking the liberty address copies of my response to the media and other persons and institutions concerned, in view of the wide publicity your speech has received. They are neither objective nor based on ground realities

Thanking you.

I am a Tamil Sri Lankan by birth born in the far North of Jaffna and a Naturalized Australian. I have been living in Melbourne since 1986. Prior to migrating here I lived in the UK for 9 years. I am the Current Secretary and one of the founders of ARRR which was inaugurated in September in 2009 in Victoria to help our people soon after my visit to Sri-Lanka at the end of the war. Our main aim is not to get involved in politics but closely work with the two Governments (Australia & Sri Lanka) and help the IDPs (Internally Displaced People) through resettlement and rehabilitation programs. Currently we are providing support with building a hostel for the orphanage in Mannar and Kilinochichi, helping to resettle widows in Batticaloe and educating war victim’s children.  We also solicit public support for our efforts to help the needy.

I have been involved in humanitarian work for Tamil people since the age of 16. During the civil war time in Sri Lanka, although we had a lot of difficulties in helping people, we managed to help in various ways. I am totally against the arms struggle, especially killings of innocent people and the mess the civil war has created which has taken our community back by about 50 years.

As of May 2009, I started a campaign to help the IDPs. I have observed that the majority of Tamil Diaspora is still not willing to help on a large scale. Most of them are still mourning the loss of our 30 year old struggle for a separate state and the loss of the militant leadership. Some pro LTTE organizations/Associations stopped people from sending money to help the IDPs saying that it is the Sri Lankan Government’s responsibility.

I am also part of a small group of people from Melbourne operating an education program Ceylon Student Trust Fund (CSTF) for the last 23 years which helps children who have lost at least one parent due to the civil war or Tsunami in Sri Lanka. So far we have educated more than 1000 children up to university entrance. Through this, we are also associated with an local NGO in Sri Lanka and were able to send money and feed our people in camps as well as organize new clothing for ex-tiger carders at rehabilitation camps.

As part of a small group of people who knew of the plight of our people, I visited Sri Lanka on a fact finding mission and met with several ministers, high priests and also visited several camps. I have witnessed the suffering of the people and how they have been brain-washed by LTTE, many of whom having suffered immensely now hate the LTTE and their supporters. They asked and even begged us several times to advise the world to let them live! They only wanted to get out of the IDP camps and live peacefully. They have lost everything and it is because of Tamils who live overseas. Since then I have visited four times and noticed that majority of the people are mentally affected too. I am in Sri Lanka now on my fifth visit and observed tremendous positive changes. Still people need more help and support from the Australian government and people.

Please do not misunderstand the way I have portrayed other organisations adversely. These groups will never understand real situation unless they come and see for themselves. Most of these people have not been to Sri Lanka in the last 15 to 20 years.

I was the first Tamil from Australia to have visited most of the camps in July 2009.  I stayed for 25 days and travelled to Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Batticallo and Jaffna. My trip was indeed a learning experience, though very saddening. Upon my return, I was interviewed on various Tamil radio stations in Australia and people had the opportunity to hear the alternate view of the situation of Tamils in Sri-Lanka. Most people appreciated my comments but some hardcore elements did not want to accept or understand. I have helped the IDPs and will continue to do so because of the love I have for fellow Tamils.

With kind regards,

Raj Sivanathan

Founder & Secretary,

ARRR-(Non Profit Organisation) Melbourne-Australia

A point by point response to:External Face-lift Given to North does not Correspond with Reality Deep down in hearts of the People
Response prepared by: Raj Sivanathan Founder and secretary Association for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction
Report issued as statement by the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Diocese of Jaffna, Sri Lanka The widely advertised “ƒ”¹…”war for peace’ came to an end more than three years ago. Yet the fruits of this peace are yet to be enjoyed by the people in the North, who were most affected mentally, physically and economically. Response:  The “ƒ”¹…”War for peace’ waged by the government of Sri Lanka was in response to the “ƒ”¹…”war for an independent state of Tamil… -Full Story- (LankaWeb – 27/08/12)

5 Responses to “Reply to Senator Lee Rhiannon’s Speech in Australian Senate.”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Well said Raj.

    You are a SL Tamil NOT a Tamil SL.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    Well said Raj.

    You are a SL Tamil NOT a Tamil SL.

    SL MUST always come first.

  3. sumadha Aus Says:

    lorenz he is not TN Tamil,SLtamil son.this what you call real reconciliation,thanks brother.

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    Sumadha Aus,

    Cheers Bro.

    Honestly, he is doing a better job than DIP-LOW-MATS !!

    (Please don’t delete my comment of calling them DIP-LOW-MATS. They have unfortunately DIPPED to the LOW level of political DOOR MATS. Otherwise this letter should have been written by them earlier under state seal!!)

  5. Sarath W Says:

    Dear Raj,

    You are not only a honourable Sri Lankan, you are a person with real human value.This should show the suffering Tamil population in Sri Lanka who their real friends are.Not the LTTE supporting diaspora who donated huge sums of money to the terrorist to buy arms to destroy themselves, but refuse to help their long suffering brothers and sisters and to support them in their hour of need..

    Australians Greens are like a bunch of empty vessels, make so much noise but lack substance. It is a known fact that they got so many votes at the last elections just because the Australian public were so fed up with the main political parties.I am certain they are handsomely compensated by the LTTE diaspora every time they make these noises in the parliament. But mark my words, they will end up the same way the Australian Democrats did,extint in the parliament.

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