Wednesday May 22, 2013
The Sri Lankan government has repeatedly shown that it has no interest in addressing any of the human rights issues that has plagued the islands history.
(MELBOURNE) - Simply by saying no to Sri Lankan products, a hugely powerful message is being sent out. It is the most effective and constructive way that every individual, as a consumer, can voice their concerns against the Sri Lankan government’s policies. It is almost effortless for the consumer, but has a massive impact on the Sri Lankan government. All it takes is for us to exercise our right to choose what we buy. And with that freedom of choice, comes the ability to make a stand against injustice.
The effectiveness of boycotts and their simplicity has been demonstrated by the success of previous campaigns. Not only do boycotts show that there is a united and international public disapproval of the oppressors actions, but they have been, and still are, instrumental in pressuring establishments to reform and in implementing justice.
The boycott campaign against Apartheid South Africa, is one of the most memorable in recent history and played a vital role in bringing an end to a racist and bigoted regime. The campaign spread globally with the South African government rapidly facing international isolation. From international sports teams to prominent academics, pressure was put on the government to conform and end apartheid.
Boycotts just like these are still taking place today. The English and Wales Cricket Board recently severed bilateral relations with Zimbabwe due to President Mugabe’s poor human rights record, hoping that it would compel the country to reform itself. As Robert Evans (former MEP) said, relationships like this, even sporting ones, give the Sri Lankan Government “a cloak of responsibility it does not deserve”.
The Sri Lankan government has repeatedly shown that it has no interest in addressing any of the human rights issues that has plagued the islands history. It has constantly oppressed the Tamil minority, culminating in the climax of the civil war in 2009, laden with war crimes, extrajudicial killings, rapes and abductions. They have consistently denied all access to independent monitors, brushing off all talks of investigations, leaving economic sanctions and boycott the only practical solution left. With the right economic pressure, Sri Lanka will have to inevitably confront the international criticism that it is facing.
With a defence budget approaching $1.9 billion, the 20th biggest army in the world and a stumbling economy, the Rajapakse regime is attempting to get hold of every rupee they can. Until they legitimately address their appalling human rights record and investigate all allegations of war crime, the most clear cut way for us all to voice our disapproval of their actions is to simply avoid them altogether. Make the right choice. Boycott Sri Lanka.
Special thanks to The Tamil Elders
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