Jaffna, an open prison since SLA occupation – Southern media persons
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 10 November 2009, 05:27 GMT]
A group consisting 27 media persons from the South brought to Jaffna by the Peace Congress Sunday told media in Jaffna that after 13 years of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) occupation Jaffna peninsula remains an open prison for its residents, before leaving Jaffna Monday. People lock themselves into their houses after dark and are subjected to various restrictions violating their freedom of movement, expression, imposed by SLA, they further said.
The group of media persons from the South of the country spoke to the residents, politicians, representatives of several public organizations and government servants during their stay in Jaffna.
The Southern media persons made the following observations before leaving Jaffna:
- The media and its functionaries in Jaffna peninsula continue to face restrictions and harassment.
- Residents of the peninsula have to obtain travel ‘pass’ to travel, like visa, from the SLA authorities to leave Jaffna.
- People are not allowed by the SLA to freely choose their mode of travel to and from Jaffna, particularly travel through A9 road.
- They go to sleep in their homes when darkness falls and feel that it is unsafe to venture out for fear of their lives due to unidentified elements.
- The Internally Displaced Person (IDPs) brought to Jaffna undergo difficulties as no proper arrangements have been made for their lodging.
- Vanni IDPs still detained in Vavuniyaa SLA internment camps without being resettled in their own places has caused anxiety among the peninsula residents.
- The IDPs brought to Jaffna say that nothing has been done to enable them to continue their livelihoods like fishing and farming in their own places.
- The IDPs, separated from their spouses, sons, daughters taken away by the SLA from the Vavuniyaa camps are anxious for their lives as they have no news of what had happened to them.
- On the whole the people of Jaffna peninsula no longer trust the government, its visiting politicians and their empty promises.
- However, they insist on a permanent solution for the ethnic issue.