EU Parliament passes significant resolution
[TamilNet, Thursday, 12 March 2009, 21:43 GMT]
The EU Parliament Thursday passed a resolution, with a large majority, calling for immediate ceasefire between the Sri Lanka Army and Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam in order to allow the civilian population to leave the combat zone.
Condemning all acts of violence against civilians in the safe zone and expressing serious concern for the plight of the people in the refugee camps run by the Sri Lankan government, the EU Parliament demanded full and unhindered access to international and national humanitarian organisations, as well as journalists to the combat zone and to the refugee camps.
The EU resolution calling for immediate ceasefire without any conditions and expressing concern not only for the plight of civilians in the safe zone, but also for the inmates of the internment camps run by Colombo are viewed as significant stances by political observers.
"What the Indian parliament couldn't do has been achieved by the European Parliament. Some of the important demands, the people of Tamil Nadu have been making to the Indian government have at least been heard by the European Parliament," commented a Chennai based political observer.
The resolution was passed by 358 votes to 232, on average, according to Robert Evans MEP.
Full text of the resolution follows:
European Parliament resolution of 12 March 2009 on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka
The European Parliament,
– having regard to Rules 91 and 90(4) of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas an estimated 170 000 civilians find themselves in an emergency situation, trapped in the battle zone between the Sri Lankan army and the forces of the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) without access to the most basic aid,
B. whereas UN agencies have documented more than 2300 civilian deaths and at least 6500 injuries since late January 2009,
1. Calls for an immediate ceasefire by the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE in order to allow the civilian population to leave the combat zone; condemns all acts of violence and intimidation which are preventing civilians from leaving the conflict area;
2. Condemns the attacks on civilians as documented by the International Crisis Group;
3. Calls on both sides to respect international humanitarian law and to protect and assist the civilian population in the combat zone, as well as in the safe zone;
4. Is concerned about reports of serious overcrowding and poor conditions in the refugee camps established by the Sri Lankan Government;
5. Demands that international and national humanitarian organisations, as well as journalists, be granted full and unhindered access to the combat zone and to the refugee camps;
6. Calls on the Sri Lankan Government to cooperate with countries and aid organisations that are willing and able to evacuate civilians;
7. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, to the Government of Sri Lanka, to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and, for information, to the Commission.