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Take back torture comments, Senate urges Prime Minister

Media Release
Penny Wright 10 Dec 2013

Prime Minister Tony Abbott will be asked to justify his remarks excusing torture in Sri Lanka following the success of an Australian Greens motion today.

The motion by Senator Penny Wright and Senator Lee Rhiannon called on Mr Abbott to retract his comments that 'we accept that sometimes in difficult circumstances difficult things happen' and was passed with the support of the opposition.

"There are absolutely no circumstances where torture is justifiable," Australian Greens spokesperson on Human Rights Senator Wright said.

"It is truly shocking to have a Prime Minister of this country so willing to overlook international law and the gravest of abuses.

"Today, on World Human Rights Day, Mr Abbott is attending the funeral of one of the greatest human rights champions of our era. There is no better time for him to right his wrongs by retracting his remarks excusing torture."

"Tony Abbott's disregard for the very serious human rights abuses going on in Sri Lanka by officials is truly unbelievable," Australian Greens spokesperson on Sri Lanka Senator Rhiannon said.

"How many more Human Rights Watch reports does Tony Abbott need before he accepts that Tamils in Sri Lanka are still being tortured and raped by the Rajapakse regime?

"During my trip to Sri Lanka last month I was ashamed Australia's inexcusable silence on the ongoing suffering of the Tamils, human rights advocates and journalists.

 "Mr Abbott does not speak in Australia's name when he says that torture in difficult circumstances is justified."

Full text of the motion can be found here.


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