NPC urges Colombo to disprove Government support to Karuna group

[TamilNet, Thursday, 24 March 2005, 09:36 GMT]
Pointing out the existence of a camp manned by militants of the Karuna group in Government-controlled territory that borders the north east, the National Peace Council (NPC), a Colombo based Sri Lankan peace group, in a media release issued on Thursday, called on the Government to disprove the allegations regarding its support for the Karuna group immediately and ensure that no such camps are permitted to exist in the territory it controls. Cease Fire Agreement between the GoSL and the LTTE in its clause 1.8 prohibits armed paramilitaries in the NorthEast. The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has been accused of collaborating with paramilitaries to promote internecine violence in the east.

Fulltext of the Press Release by NPC follows:

Human Rights Protections Must Accompany Peace Process

"The serial killings mostly in the east have been among the most serious of human rights violations taking place in the aftermath of the Ceasefire Agreement signed between the government and LTTE in February 2002. Some of the killings have taken place in the north and also in Colombo, but most of them have been in the east of the country. These killings have been targeted ones and have thus spread a climate of fear and intimidation in the areas they are taking place. Most of the targeted killings after the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement have been of those identified to be working in opposition to the LTTE. However, the spate of killings taking place in the east increased significantly after the breakaway from the LTTE of its former eastern commander, Karuna Amman a year ago. This has created a volatile situation that could prove difficult to control if permitted to continue.

"Since the breakaway of Karuna from the LTTE, the LTTE has been complaining that the government has been providing logistical support to him and his cadre. Over the past year, gunmen believed to be from the Karuna group have been constantly attacking the LTTE. These charges have been routinely denied by the government. But now investigative journalism has disclosed the existence of a camp manned by militants of the Karuna group, including child soldiers, in government-controlled territory that borders the north east. The National Peace Council believes that any complicity of the government in the sustenance of the Karuna group and its unlawful activities, including the killing of people whether belonging to the LTTE or any other group, is an indictment on the government's respect for human rights, for law and order and to the peace process itself.

"The National Peace Council calls on the government to disprove these allegations regarding its support for the Karuna group immediately and ensure that no such camps are permitted to exist in the territory it controls. In addition, it is incumbent on those who seek to safeguard the people's interests, be they political parties, civil society organisations or the international community, to ensure that the government and LTTE operate according to internationally recognised human rights norms and practices. At present much attention is focused upon the prospect of setting up a joint government-LTTE mechanism for tsunami aid to flow to the north east. The National Peace Council affirms that a commitment to human rights must accompany the peace process every step of the way. This would include the joint tsunami financial mechanism that could set the stage for a revival of the dormant peace process. We also propose the strengthening of human rights monitoring mechanisms pertaining to the peace process by providing the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission or a new human rights monitoring body with a more effective mandate to ensure the protection of human rights."


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