LTTE urges Tamil representation at EU hearings

[TamilNet, Monday, 04 June 2007, 18:44 GMT]
On the eve of a European Union parliamentary discussion on post-tsunami reconstruction and human rights situation in Sri Lanka, the Liberation Tigers called on the EU to invite Tamil representatives to its future meetings “for any objective understanding of the post-tsunami and human rights situation.” The LTTE also urged the EU to press Sri Lanka to allow international human rights monitors access.

The EU parliamentary public hearing on Post -Tsunami reconstruction and human rights situation in Sri Lanka is to take place in at Brussels on Tuesday 5th June 2007.

Although Tamils and Muslims were the worst affected by the December 2004 tsunami, these communities have been discriminated against in post-tsunami reconstruction, the LTTE said in a statement Monday.

Although the LTTE entered into the P-TOMS agreement to share international aid pledged in the wake of the disaster, the Sri Lankan government cancelled this accord, the LTTE said.

“At this point of time, the human rights and humanitarian situation in the island has been well reported to the world and the EU needs to condemn these crimes and ask Sri Lanka to allow international human rights monitors to the island,” the LTTE said.

Also Monday, press reports said the Sri Lankan government is likely to send a down graded team to Brussels for the European Parliament’s Development Affairs Committee open session Tuesday.

“The government had earlier decided to send a high level delegation led by Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe for the much awaited event,” the Daily Mirror said.

The paper, quoting ‘a highly placed source’, said the government took the decision “on the basis that the committee has allowed independent rights groups to make representations at the meeting.”

The official told the paper the Sri Lankan government was of the opinion EU Development Affairs Committee was acting beyond its mandate by calling human rights groups and foreign lobbyists to make representations at the June 5 meeting on development issues.

The text of Monday’s press release by the LTTE Peace Secretariat follows:

We wish to draw attention to the upcoming EU parliamentary public hearing at Brussels on Post -Tsunami reconstruction and human rights situation in Sri Lanka on 5th June 2007.

A public hearing like this on Post - Tsunami evaluation along with assessments of human rights record and humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka without the participation of Tamil representatives could not be a useful and comprehensive exercise.

EU development committee should invite Tamil representatives to such an important hearing. The Sri Lankan government which has committed serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian laws has been invited to present its defense while the victims have been kept out from presenting their case. In this context, we wish to also draw attention to the persistent resistance of the Sri Lankan government to the EU draft resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva since August 2006.

The European Union which is supporting the Norway -facilitated peace process and has recognized certain ground realities should consider inviting Tamil representatives to its future meetings for any objective understanding of the post-tsunami and human rights situation.

The Tamils and Muslims are the worst affected people in the Tsunami-struck parts of the island. But they have been discriminated against in the post-tsunami programmes. 40, 000 people were killed and 600 000 have lost their livelihood and become IDPs. The various agencies and local leaders have continuously voiced the suffering of these IDPs and other Tsunami-affected people in North-East. More than 350 000 people are still living in IDP centers in the Northern part of the island. In Eastern part, these IDPs are getting more war, due to the SL new military offensives.

The denial of the P-TOMS (Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure) which has been supported by most of the international players is singular example of the Sri Lankan government's abuse of international sympathy created after the Tsunami. We signed an agreement. Later, Sri Lanka cancelled this accord. The LTTE and Tamil people have been cheated again by Sri Lanka in this P-TOMS issue.

At this point of time, the human rights and humanitarian situation in the island has been well reported to the world and the EU needs to condemn these crimes and ask Sri Lanka to allow international human rights monitors to the island.

 

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