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Australian lawmakers detained by Sri Lanka

November 2013, 10
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The Immigration authorities of Sri Lanka on Sunday had for a short span of time detain an Australian and a New Zealand citizen who was on a mission to Sri Lanka to research on some facts involving the recent human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, said the officials. The country is soon going to host a Commonwealth summit, but many leaders are warning to cancel that event as there are chances of many war crimes happening in the country.

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Australian senator Lee Rhiannon and MP of New Zealand Jan Logie were both detained in Sri Lanka for a short time because they were holding a press conference regarding the mission they were carrying out in Sri Lanka, a lawmaker from the Sri Lankan opposition party informed. They had both violated visa conditions, but were holding visas for carrying out special project work and could research on facts, AFP was given this information by Sri Lankan lawmaker MA Sumanthiran.

A Sri Lankan official informed that the two nationals from Australia and New Zealand were held in detention in their hotel rooms and questioned, but did not divulge any other information. The Senator had been asked questions on violating he visa conditions but later she was released said the Australian high commission. One official from the embassy office also informed that since their work was now over they are returning back to their home.

The Sri Lankan government was actually paranoid over overseas citizens taking interest in their human rights record said Tamil National Alliance's Sumanthiran. He said the government in front of the public says that everyone is welcome to visit Sri Lanka and have a look what is happening but the fact is they don't like anyone visiting here and they don't want anyone to find out what really is happening in Sri Lanka. The pair was released because they were anyways going to depart to their home on Sunday.

Both of them had visited the war zone in Northern Sri Lanka to look into cases of human right violations, nearly four years after Tamil rebels were crushed by government forces to end the more than a decade long separation war. Before this incident last week two Australia media rights activists who were meeting local rights activists were also kicked out from the country. Stephen Harper the Canadian Prime Minister has said that he wont be attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting due to be held on November 15-17.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also skipping the meeting supposedly said a government official from New Delhi. Sri Lanka has denied charges that in 2009 40,000 civilians were killed by government troops during the final months of war between Tamil rebels and the government, Sri Lanka has faced censure at the Un Human Rights Council because it has failed to probe the allegations against it.

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