Co-Chairs’ failure to condemn bombing will fuel violence - IFT

[TamilNet, Saturday, 04 November 2006, 16:22 GMT]
Geneva based Tamil diaspora federation, International Federation of Tamils (IFT), criticising the Co-Chair's "failure" to condemn the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) airstrike on the environs of Kilinochchi hospital which killed five people, the IFT warned the weak international response “will encourage Sri Lanka to continue such attacks with impunity.”

Following Thursday’s air raid on Kilinochchi – one amongst several in the past week – the Ambassadors representing the Co-Chairs – the US, EU, Japan and Norway – issued a brief statement.

IFT Logo
IFT Logo
“[The Co-Chairs] express their deep regret over the bombing of a house in Kilinochchi on 2 November 2006 that resulted in the death of five civilians,” the statement said. “The explosion also damaged the Kilinochchi District Hospital and caused patients to flee.”

The statement went on to say: “the Co-Chairs expect both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to refrain from military action. This latest attack comes at a delicate time when both sides should seek to build confidence and compromise to ensure further rounds of talks can soon be agreed, and an escalation of the conflict can be avoided.”

The IFT charged that the Co-Chairs had deliberately avoided condemning the airstrike on the hospital environs.

“The Co-Chairs do not name Sri Lanka as being responsible for the bombing. Nor do they say that Sri Lanka’s attack on Killinochchi was a gross violation of international humanitarian standards,” the IFT said.

“[They] refuse to categorise the Sri Lanka attack on a civilian population centre in Killinochchi in the proximity of a hospital as a war crime. “[They] fail to identify the civilians killed as Tamil civilians.”

By contrast, the IFT observed, “the Co-Chairs were quick to name the LTTE and condemn it for the attack on a Sri Lankan military convoy in Habarana on 16 October 2006, as a ‘terrorist’ attack.”

“The Co-Chairs fail to state that the Sri Lanka attack was a breach of the pledge given by Sri Lanka in Geneva, (a mere three days earlier) to refrain from launching military offensives.”

The IFT said the message sought to be conveyed by the Co-Chairs is clear: “We will not condemn Sri Lanka’s message of terror in Killinochchi, but if the LTTE responds to Sri Lanka’s continuing aerial bombardment of Tamil civil population centres, then we will condemn the LTTE for taking military action and categorise such action as ‘terrorism’.”

“[The Co-Chairs’] failure to condemn and hold Sri Lanka accountable for the Killinochchi bombing appears to reflect the strategic interests of the Co-Chairs rather than a willingness to apply international humanitarian standards,” the IFT said.

Moreover, “the failure of the Co- Chairs to state that the attack on Killinochchi was an offensive action in breach of the Ceasefire will encourage Sri Lanka to continue such attacks with impunity,” the IFT warned.

The IFT urged the international community “to recognise that turning a blind eye to the gross and consistent violations of humanitarian law by the Sinhala Sri Lanka government will not lead to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the island of Sri Lanka.”


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