Sri Lanka turns back Mercy ship

[TamilNet, Monday, 08 June 2009, 23:07 GMT]
Government of Sri Lanka turned away the ship, MV Captain Ali, carrying relief supplies to the Tamils held in internment camps, after keeping the ship under Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) custody for nearly 4.5 days, and after admitting that the ship carried purely humanitarian supplies, a press release from the Mercy Mission Head Office in the UK said.

While the Government of Sri Lanka has been appealing for funds from the International Community to provide food and other assistance to the 300,000 Tamils being detained in the camps, it is surprising that Colombo would reject 800 tons of relief supplies, the Directors of the Mercy Mission said.

"This Mercy Mission ship, the product of the hard work of thousands of volunteers in the UK and Europe and donations from tens of thousands of Tamils throughout the world, could have been, and in fact, should have been, used by the GoSL as an opportunity to show it’s bona fides and engage with the Tamil Diaspora as a means to begin the process of reconciliation in, in the government’s words, “post-conflict” Sri Lanka," the press release said.

"Mercy Mission also wishes to express concern for Mr. Athmanathan, an independent Colombo based businessman, who is being detained by the CID. He was never on the ship and never came into contact with the cargo, he had only agreed to be named as the consignee for the ship’s cargo and assist in clearing it through customs," the release added.


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