"NorthEast deprived of ceasefire benefits" - Trinco NGOs

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 07 January 2004, 13:56 GMT]
"The people of all provinces in Sri Lanka except the war-ravaged northeast enjoy the benefits of the ceasefire currently in force for the last two years," the President of the Trincomalee District Non-Governmental Organizations Consortium Mr.T.Thavasilingam said Wednesday at a discussion held at the Trincomalee district secretariat in the presence of Norwegian Ambassador Mr. Hans Brattskar.

NGO Trinco Meet
Norwegian ambassador to Sri Lanka Mr.Hans Brattskar
"Majority people in the northeast are still living on one meal a day under the two year old ceasefire as in the past before the ceasefire came into existence," said Mr.T.Thavasilingam in his inaugural address.

"We know the pulse of the people. People in the northeast might consider war is better than the ceasefire if the current situation in the spheres of reconstruction and rehabilitation continued without any substantial relief and development to the affected people. To change the mindset of the affected people towards reconciliation authorities should take immediate steps to create better living conditions in their own villages," he added.

NGO Trinco Meet
Trincomalee District NGOs' Consortium President Mr.T.Thavasilingam speaking at the discussion while ( L-R ) Trincomalee District Deputy Director of Planning Mr.V.Suntharalingam, Government Agent Mr. Gamini Rodrigo and Norwegian ambassador Mr.Hans Brattskar listening
People, especially farmers and fishermen in the northeast are currently undergoing untold hardships to make ends meet inspite of promises by the Sri Lanka government and the international community. Ninety percent of the people in Trincomalee district live below poverty line. Number of school dropouts in the district is very high due to poverty as many parents are finding very difficult to send their children to schools, Mr.Thavasilingam said.

"We hope that the stalled peace process is taken forward under the current ceasefire agreement with the Norwegian facilitation amidst reports that the government is to withdraw from the peace process,"Mr.Thavasilingam said.

NGO Trinco Meet
Section of the NGO representatives participated at the discussion held at the Trincomalee district secretariat

He said it is easy find a political solution to the ethnic conflict in the country if the problems of the cosmopolitan Trincomalee district are solved peacefully.

Presiding over the discussion, the Trincomalee Government Agent Mr. Gamini Rodrigo outlined the urgent needs of the Trincomalee district.

Representatives of several NGOs in the district also spoke.

The President of the Trincomalee district branch of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Dr.P.K.Gnanagunalan proposed vote of thanks.

The Norwegian Ambassador was on his first visit to the eastern port town.


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