IFT urges Donors to support NorthEast apex mechanism
[TamilNet, Sunday, 23 January 2005, 15:03 GMT]
The Geneva based International Federation of Tamils (IFT), a consortium of more than 150 expatriate Tamil organizations, has called on the co-chairs of Tokyo Doner conference (Sri Lanka) to express support for an effective aid distibution apex mechanism to Northeastern region of Sri Lanka. IFT called the attention of the International Community and the Co-Chairs to examine the current post -Tsunami situation in northeastern region. Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka is scheduled to be held in Brussels in January 2005.
Extracts from the appeal follow:
"People in north east region were already battered by the onslaught of war and destruction for three decades, with over 60,000 dead or missing, women and children subjected to violence, the infrastructure destroyed, depriving
education and medicine. Since the Norwegian facilitated ceasefire in 2002, they had just returned with hopes and dreams of rebuilding their lives, only to face this unmerciful act of nature. These victims form part of two thirds
of the Tsunami toll in Sri Lanka more than 600 000 have been displaced making sixty - six percent of the total national count. More than 80 000 dwellings have been destroyed. It is sixty - five National percentage. Hundreads of schools and hospitals are completely wrecked.
"Reports received from this region indicate that little and belated assistance has been received from Government of Sri Lanka. It is very distressing to note that for first three days following the Tsunami, people of these
region received no assistance from Government of SL. Later when the international attention was drawn to these areas Sri Lankan government and the armed forces have continued to interfere in the humanitarian needs of these people.
"The Sri Lankan President structured a centralised Tsunami aid programs with ulterior motives. With her longstanding enmity towards Tamils, under her command, she appointed her Military Chiefs to coordinate the aid distribution and rehabilitation. With her Sinhala extremist partners, JVP, she ordered interception
of the humanitarian aid, causing delays and harassment to prevent aid to the North and East. The Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), The LTTE Peace Secretariat and the Tamil Parliamentarians have publicly expressed concern in this developments.
"The Sri Lankan President and Foreign Minister have actively dissuaded the international Leaders and officials from visiting the affected areas in the North East. We are disappointed that UN secretary General too was not afforded the opportunity to visit areas in NorthEast.
"The Government of Sri Lanka declared emergency, which has been suspended since the agreement of cease fire, feb 22,2002. And, the Sri Lankan armed forces took control of the welfare centers in the north eastern region. This is great threat to those displaced civilians. The head of the Sri Lankan
monitoring mission (SLMM), a international observer body, and an UNHCR representative expressed their surprise on this military involvement.
"The Sri Lankan government which is seeking Interantional aid, send a delegation to purchase 150million dollar worth of military hardwares from Iran.
"The question that faces the people in the North East is whether they would get any international relief at all as no effective administrative mechanism
to carry out this task in the north east region. The Tamil Leadership
requested for such an interim arrangement but the President is not providing
any space to create such mechanism till date.
"We fear that the government will use international aid as a weapon of war
against these suffering people, subjecting them to further trauma.
"In this situation,
- We Kindly request you and the other co-chairs to express support for an
interim mechanism to north eastern region for aid distibution and implimentation
of Tsunami related rehabilation projects.
- We Kindly draw your attention to the fact that the LTTE is representating
the Tamil people and major part of the north East is under LTTE administration.
The Norway facilitated ceasefire was based on this ground reality. Please
take this important equation and conflict sensitivity into account in the
formulation of methods for equitable distribution of aid.
- We kindly request you and other co-chairs to maintain the link between
aid and development in peace front. This condition will energise the peace
process which has been threaten by the President Ms.Chandrika Bandaranayke
and her racist colation partner JVP.
International Federation of Tamils