by US President Barack Obama, Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, Washington, DC, May 13, 2009
ON THE SITUATION IN SRI LANKA
AND DETAINEE PHOTOGRAPHS
4:18 P.M. EDT
Intervene in the name of humanity: Pathmathan calls on IC
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 13 May 2009, 09:20 GMT]
“Every passing day is resulting in the loss of countless number of civilian lives and alienation of the entire Tamil community,” said Selvaraja Pathmanathan, the LTTE plenipotentiary for international relations, in a statement issued on Wednesday, and called on the International Community for its urgent and immediate intervention, not based on territorial or geo-political ambitions, but based on basic human values. “It is our firm view that a cessation of all hostilities would be the only mechanism that would prevent further civilian carnage and we remain committed to an immediate and permanent ceasefire.”
We urgently call upon the International Community, the United Nations and World Leaders to assert their moral right to get actively involved in Sri Lankan Tamil conflict, even without leave from the Security Council, if it is the only way to stop the dire suffering of the Tamil People,” Mr. Pathmanathan said in his statement.
Full text of the statement follows:
13 May 2009
We welcome the statement issued by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband calling for immediate suspension of hostilities to provide for the safe passage of the Tamil people trapped in the war zone in Vanni. In particular we are grateful for the statement which calls upon the GOSL to restrain from the use of heavy weaponry against the hapless Tamil civilians and urging the GOSL to allow food and much needed medicine to the so-called “safe zone” in Vanni.
In one of my earlier statements dated 10 May 2009, I pointed out that “throughout the entire existence of our liberation struggle, we have always extended our most courteous cooperation to the humanitarian relief organisations that have sought to provide relief for our people”. I would like to re-iterate our commitment to providing not only safe passage but also extend all necessary assistance to any humanitarian relief effort that the UN and related agencies may undertake in the conflict zone.
We want to bring to the attention of the international community the fate of the civilians who have moved into the IDP camps from the conflict zone. To date there is no supervision of these camps. The numbers of people who enter these camps are unknown and the number remaining is unaccounted for. Systematic ethnic cleansing carried out by the GOSL in targeting all youth and young adults for culling is a crime against humanity.
Latest reports emanating from the war zone and IDP camps indicate that the bodies, psyche and spirit of the innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka have been shattered. In the name of war on terror, the Sri Lankan government and its military are engaged in genocide. More than 200,000 Tamils are displaced in the war zone with almost all of them barricaded “in concentration camp-like conditions” managed by the Sri Lankan Government. Increasingly common reports of the number of women and girls being raped by the Sri Lankan forces are a crime that needs urgent attention by the international community.
It is important for the International Community to remember that free media does not exist in Sri Lanka, and any foreign journalist who is brave enough to report the truth is immediately arrested and either held in custody or deported. There is a systematic blocking of news about GOSL’s war crimes and genocide coming out of the war zone and IDP camps. Church leaders have pointed out that close to 200 churches have been destroyed in Northern Sri Lanka alone thus preventing the Church from carrying out humanitarian efforts to the war victims.
These facts being common knowledge, most civilians in the conflict zone do not want to be transferred to these IDP camps. It is the moral responsibility of the International community and the United Nations to intervene in the running of these IDP camps and to ensure the welfare of the civilians. If the UK and EU were to take responsibility for the welfare of these civilians including the children, the movement of the civilians in the conflict zone may become a reality. Urgent supply of food and medicine followed by the involvement of the humanitarian relief agencies is long overdue and vital to the survival of the civilian population on whom the GOSL has unleashed the most horrendous carnage using heavy weaponry.
The Tamil people world over are dismayed that the International Community and the United Nations, have so far failed in their actual obligation to take coercive action to protect our people at risk of grave harm. We refer to United Nation’s 2005 World Summit’s “Outcome Document” which allows the R2P to be invoked when there is genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing or crimes against humanity.
We urgently call upon the International Community, the United Nations and World Leaders to assert their moral right to get actively involved in Sri Lankan Tamil conflict, even without leave from the Security Council, if it is the only way to stop the dire suffering of the Tamil People. Every passing day is resulting in the loss of countless number of civilian lives and alienation of the entire Tamil community. We seek your urgent and immediate intervention, not based on territorial or geo-political ambitions, but based on basic human values.
It is our firm view that a cessation of all hostilities would be the only mechanism that would prevent further civilian carnage and we remain committed to an immediate and permanent ceasefire.