Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Appeal to the UN to Save Our Population

by Commission for Justice and Peace, Jaffna, September 8, 2008

This war though ostensibly to destroy the so called ‘terrorism’ is really one to silence the cry of the Tamils and to keep them as second class citizens in their traditional homeland too...

Why were [heavy earthmoving equipment from an aid agency] handed over to the Army Commander at a time when a protracted war is going on there?

Are they to be used for peace or war, for true construction or destruction?

 

CRIES FROM THE PALMYRA GROVE

(Weekly statement on the Local Developments – No. 47 - up to 2008-09-08)   

 

Follows an appeal made by the commission to the UN secretary general on the Wanni situation

 

2008-09-01

 

The Secretary General,

The United Nations

 

URGENT APPEAL FOR SAVING OUR POPULATION 

We are sure that to some extent, you are already aware of the situation in war-torn North Sri Lanka and the plight of the Tamil population here, especially those in the Wanni.

Under the guise of dislodging and destroying the LTTE, the Sri Lankan army has purposely and deliberately caused the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people from the sanctuaries of their homes, lands, properties, cultivations in scores of villages. They have been compelled to flee their areas nearly empty-handed due to the planned incessant and heavy shelling by the army and by the aerial bombing even at night.

Most of them are now like paupers at the mercy of the elements under trees.

The Government Agents of those areas have stated that they are unable to look after them properly due to the control on the flow of goods and rations by the army at the entry-exit point to that entire area. The NGOs too have expressed their near inability due to the same reason.

Even the few hospitals available there now are bereft of sufficient medicines and other essential amenities like fuel and electricity, becoming the indirect cause of many more unwanted deaths.

If the international community is really interested in preserving lives and looking after the welfare and rights of people, then this cruel, immoral and inhuman war should be brought to an immediate halt.

All this is kept hidden from the international community through planned communication barrier imposed on neutral media personnel.

Though the Government states that this war is to eliminate terrorism, it is actually the Government that is involved in State terrorism causing through its various agents thousands of abductions, disappearances, killings, maiming, destruction of property and live stock, mass displacement, plundering, and various form of harassment and torture, most of which are documented and even certified by international HR agencies.

The Government is embarked on an objective of reducing the Tamil population in the North through various violent means.

The aim of the Government is to dislodge the Tamils from their traditional areas and later to colonize with the Sinhalese as was and is being done in the East so that the Tamils will lose their political majority representation in these areas too thus eliminating the rights cry of the Tamils.

This war though ostensibly to destroy the so called ‘terrorism’ is really one to silence the cry of the Tamils and to keep them as second class citizens in their traditional homeland too.

Though the Government states that the rights of the Tamils will be granted after overcoming the LTTE, it is certain that only crumbs will be given, once even this pressure is eliminated. This has been the past history, where all the agreements reached between the Tamil and Sinhala leaders were repudiated by the Sinhalese ex parte.

Thus with the stoppage of this war, the international community needs also to demand the presentation of a viable and just solution to the ethnic question, even ex parte, by the Government together with guarantees of its not being deflated or withdrawn under any guise or circumstance. (Both big Sinhala parties know what that solution should be as both have at different times spelt it out when they were in the opposition.)  If the international community gets this done, we are sure that this war will come to a natural end since its cause is rectified.

 “Development of the North”

This week we learnt over the State media that very many Heavy earth moving equipment were handed over ‘for use in the development of the Northern areas freed from the LTTE and brought recently under State control’.   Probably they were obtained from some agency purportedly for the said purpose. But some pertinent questions arise.

Why were they handed over to the Army Commander at a time when a protracted war is going on there?

Are they to be used for peace or war, for true construction or destruction?

Who will be the immediate beneficiaries when there are no civilians in those areas?

This is a glaring example of one way of misusing of the international assistance extended to the Government.

We therefore earnestly appeal to you to use your office and influence to:

  1. Bring about an immediate halt to the war causing massacre, terror and inhuman treatment on the masses there.
  2. To pressurize the Government to allow all the supplies essentially needed by the people, both displaced and not displaced.
  3. To cause the Government to put forward a long term solution to the ethnic problem, which if satisfactory and guaranteed, will bring about a natural total end to the war itself.
  4. Cause sufficient monitoring of the use of all assistance to ensure their proper use