US Senate calls for equitable distribution of tsunami aid

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 31 May 2005, 03:27 GMT]
The Committee of Appropriations of the United States Senate said, in a report that accompanied H.R 1268 emergency supplemental appropriations act, that the tsunami relief programs "adhere to basic principles of equity, transparency and accountability," and that the assistance be "distributed on equitable basis," referring to Sri Lanka and Tamils.

Sen Thad Cochran
Senator Thad Cochran (R-Minnesota), Chairman, Committee on Appropriations
The report was submitted at the first session of 109th Congress by Senator Cochran, chairman of the Committee on Appropriations in the United States Senate, to accompany the 'Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005' which President Bush signed into law in the Oval Office of the White House, 11 May 2005.

Refering to the peace process in Sri Lanka, the report said, "The Committee directs that tsunami relief and reconstruction programs in Aceh and in Sri Lanka adhere to basic principles of equity, transparency and accountability, and that such programs when practicable, be used to strengthen and support internationally mediated negotiations between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement and between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE."

Stressing the need for equitable distribution of tsunmi aid the report added, "The Committee believes that relief and reconstruction assistance should be distributed on an equitable basis to all groups affected by the tsunami according to their situation and not their social status. Accordingly, the Committee expects that assistance will be provided to impacted Dalits [South India], Tamils and undocumented Burmese refugees."

The bill H.R 1268 provides emergency supplemental appropriations for military operations, relief and reconstruction, and related activities critical to building stable democracies, as well as assisting those who suffered in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

Emergency supplemental appropriations is a mechanism Congress uses to obtain emergency funds from the treasury after the normal budget process.

The Committee has provided US$656m for the Tsunami Recovery and Reconstruction fund. The amount does not include the US$45m required for modifying direct loans and loan guarantees for tsunami affected countries.

 

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