Thursday, 28 October 2010
Statements by Members
My friend Abdelhadi Matar, the founder of the Darfur-Australia Network, has condemned the appointment of the Sudanese ambassador to Australia. He pointed out, and I agree, that the scale of destruction in Darfur is continuing apace. Darfur has been widely labelled as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster and has been described as such by UN officials since 2004. Various reports estimate that since the outbreak of violence between 200,000 and 400,000 people have died as a result of fighting. The conflict in Darfur has left the world’s headlines, but the violations of human rights continue. As recently as 3 September, Sudanese government planes bombed the Alhemidia market in the Darfur town of Zalingi killing 37 people. Also last month the Sudanese military attacked the Kalma refugee camp killing 15 people.
Whether Australia should be welcoming the representative of the Sudanese regime and granting him credentials is something that could be widely considered by this House. But I do support the people of Darfur. I do hope that they are considered amongst the refugees coming to Australia. They are some of the most deserving people in the world, given the tragic situation that continues to prevail there at the moment.