Avoid politicisation of relief efforts, cautions EU

[TamilNet, Friday, 14 January 2005, 15:31 GMT]
Calling upon President Chandrika Kumaratunga's United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government, all political parties and the LTTE to actively promote a fair distribution of relief assistance to the tsunami victims, Colombo-based Heads of Missions of the European Union on Friday cautioned that there should be no politicisation of relief efforts. In an apparent reaction to the government's decision to deploy its military to handle the relief assistance, the member countries of the EU have also urged all parties to refrain from any actions during the distribution of humanitarian aid that might have a potentially negative impact on the peace process.

According to a statement from the EU office in Colombo, these observations have been made at a high level meeting by the Colombo-based Heads of Missions (HoMs) of the European Union on Friday in Colombo, amidst reports of mishandling of relief assistance and distribution.

''he EU HoMs call upon the Government, all political parties and the LTTE to actively promote a fair distribution of relief assistance to the victims of the Tsunami disaster, irrespective of their political affiliation, religious and ethnic background. It is essential that there will be no politicisation of relief efforts,''the statement said.

While recalling the overwhelming European support and sympathy for Sri Lanka to overcome the tragedy following the tsunami disaster, they have strongly urged all stakeholders to seize this opportunity for peace building and reconciliation.

''The EU HoMs believe effective and appropriate decentralisation is necessary for a successful relief and reconstruction operation,'' the statement said.

They have assured that they would impress upon their partner organisations to ensure that relief and reconstruction aid ''is allocated to all victims of the tsunami independent of their political, ethnic or religious background''.

The EU HoMs have also called for the establishment of an 'independent and multi stakeholder monitoring mechanism' to review proceedings that would further support the UN system in co-ordination and monitoring.

 

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