2ND LEAD (Corrections, update)

UK routeing ex-LTTE ‘reintegration’ through SL Army raises controversy in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Monday, 13 June 2011, 22:06 GMT]
Announcing a donation of 5,00,000 pound sterling (90 million SL rupees), and entirely accompanied by the occupying Sri Lanka Army, the British Deputy High Commissioner in Colombo, Mark Gooding, visited a detention camp run for ‘reintegration’ of ex-LTTE combatants by the SL military at the High Security Zone part of Thellippazhai in Valikaamam North, Jaffna, on Monday. The British government policy of accepting a genocidal military accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity as competent authority for the ‘reintegration’ of the ex-LTTE combatants, and involving the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) of questionable local credibility in the process, raises controversy in Jaffna.

The genocidal SL military keeps the ex-LTTE members, including females, in the Thellippazhai detention camp, without permitting even their parents to visit or contact or provide any details of those who are detained.

Informed sources say several ex-LTTE members have been brought to the centre in recent months.

There are widespread allegations of sexual abuse, torture, forced labour and ‘recruitment’ of ex LTTE members to paramilitary activities by the SL Army in the facilities such as that in Thellippazhai in Jaffna, Poonthoaddam in Vavuniyaa and Welikande bordering the Eastern Province.

The High Commission of UK in Colombo announced on Monday that the Funds of the UK’s Conflict Pool would be utilised towards “the reintegration of rehabilitated ex-combatants in the North.”

The High Commission also said that its Deputy High Commissioner visited “a group of reintegrated ex-combatants and the Thellipalai Rehabilitation Centre.”

The British mission in Colombo trying to project the internationally victimised liberation fighters left under subhuman conditions in the hands of a genocidal military as “rehabilitated” and “reintegrated” causes much anger among the Eezham Tamils in the island and in the diaspora.

The announcement by the British high commission that the money for ‘reintegration’ of former LTTE combatants would be channelled through the IOM, was also received with heavy criticism by NGO and humanitarian activists who questioned the role of the hierarchy of the IOM in Jaffna, which has earned a bad reputation among the people of Jaffna in recent times.

The British Deputy High Commissioner also visited resettled civilians in Kollangkaladdi within the Thellippazhai Division. The divisional secretary, S. Muralthiran, the top-most civil authority of the area, was totally unaware of the visit by the British Mission either to the detention camp or to the re-settled village.

Mr. Mark Gooding arrived accompanied entirely by SL military to the village, the villagers told TamilNet.

Gooding held meetings with Jaffna Commander of the occupying Sri Lanka Army, Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe. There has been no meeting with civil authorities in Jaffna.

The visiting Deputy High Commissioner met Mr. Suresh Premachandran of the TNA on Monday and was scheduled to meet EPDP on Tuesday. Mr. Gooding was also scheduled to meet Jaffna Bishop on Tuesday.

The visiting deputy high commissioner in Jaffna was also scheduled to inspect the causeway and bridge between Keara-theevu of the Jaffna peninsula and Changkup-piddi in Poonakari of the main island, which had been constructed with British aid, informed sources told TamilNet.

British colonialism was arbitrary in the administrative and political ‘integration’ of the sovereignty of the nation of Eezham Tamils with that of the Sinhalese in 1838. Successive British constitution makers since 1911 refused to consider appropriate constitutional arrangements from the point of view of peoples’ realities in the island, resulting in the genocidal crisis of today.

Britain has moral and global responsibilities in restoring the sovereignty of Eezham Tamils.

Without no efforts of restoring the sovereignty of Eezham Tamils to leave matters into their hands, today’s Britain conceiving ‘reintegration’ of the former liberation fighters of Eezham Tamils, by conceding the status of competent authority to the SL military that committed genocide and continues to commit genocide on Eezham Tamils, raises the question, “What is the ulterior motive of UK's Conflict Pool,” asked a Tamil politician in Jaffna.

Following is the official statement released by the British High Commission in Colombo on Mark Gooding's visit to North and East:

BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION
NEWS RELEASE
13 June, 2011

BRITISH DEPUTY HIGH COMMISSIONER ANNOUNCES £500,000 TOWARDS REINTEGRATION IN THE NORTH

Deputy British High Commissioner, Mark Gooding, announced that the UK would be contributing a total of £500,000 (approximately Rs.90 million) towards the reintegration of rehabilitated ex-combatants in the North. The funding, which comes from the UK’s Conflict Pool, will be utilised for a programme implemented by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) as part of the Government's rehabilitation and reintegration process.

Mr. Gooding made this announcement on the first day of an official visit to Jaffna and Trincomalee, which commenced on Monday, 13 June, 2011.

As part of his visit, he visited a resettled community in Kollankalladdy in the Thellipalai division, a group of reintegrated ex-combatants and the Thellipalai Rehabilitation Centre. His other meetings included those with the SF Commander, Maj. Gen. Mahinda Hathurusinghe and representatives of political parties.

Commenting on his visit, the British Deputy High Commissioner said: “I am delighted to visit Jaffna and Trincomalee – two very beautiful and historic locations in Sri Lanka that are now recovering from many years of war. I welcome the efforts to re-build the communities in these areas, including through re-establishing livelihoods, clearing mines and resettling the displaced. The UK will continue to support this work. I am delighted to announce a new commitment of £500,000 of funding for reintegration of former combatants. This funding will be channelled through IOM in line with the Government's reintegration programme. The UK also recently announced a further GBP 3,000,000 for de-mining in conflict affected areas."


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