Police should replace military, LTTE women cadres can wear civilian belts - SLMM

[TamilNet, Sunday, 16 February 2003, 13:42 GMT]
To prevent future clashes, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) agreed to allow women LTTE cadres to wear any civilian type of belts when entering and staying in GOSL controlled areas, a press release issued Sunday by the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) said.

The press statement further said "there is now an urgent need for a modern, well trained police force in order to gradually normalize the situation in the Government controlled areas in the North and East of Sri Lanka."

"Using military forces to maintain law and order can be justified during times of war, but is highly likely to lead to unnecessary violence and increased tensions during times of peace," the SLMM statement said.

Full text of the SLMM statement follows:

Subject: Military Uniform Type of belts worn by LTTE Cadres - Manippay Incident

To avoid future clashes between the forces of the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), over LTTE cadres using military uniform type of belts in Government controlled areas the following interim arrangements have been made by Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and accepted by both parties:

LTTE cadres wearing military uniform type of belts, will voluntarily remove such belts before entering into Government controlled areas and will not wear them while staying in Government controlled areas. LTTE cadres that do not follow this procedure will be denied access to Government controlled areas. If LTTE cadres do not follow this procedure, the forces of the Government of Sri Lanka will immediately call for SLMM assistance. Such provision is also given to the LTTE. SLMM monitors will, on the spot, rule the situation and advise both parties to comply strictly with the above-mentioned procedure. It should be made very clear that these arrangements apply for military uniform type of belts only. Consequently, LTTE cadres may wear any type of civilian belts when entering and staying in Government controlled territory.

A clash over LTTE cadres wearing military uniform type of belts, took place between Government forces and LTTE cadres at Manippay in Jaffna peninsula on Wednesday 12th of February. SLMM ruled on the 16th of January that such belts were a part of the LTTE female cadre uniform. Therefore it can be considered a violation when LTTE cadres wear them in Government controlled areas. The decision of the Government forces to forcefully remove the military uniform type of belts from the LTTE cadres on the scene clearly created tensions which lead to a demonstration led by LTTE. An anti-riot squad was deployed by the Government forces to disperse the crowd. SLMM Monitors on the scene witnessed members of this riot squad attacking and beating innocent people that had nothing to do with this demonstration. These actions of the anti-riot squad were hostile acts against the population and as such, constitute a clear violation of article 2.1 of the Ceasefire Agreement which states; "The Parties shall in accordance with international law abstain from hostile acts against the civilian population, including such acts as torture, intimidation, abduction, extortion and harassment."

SLMM urges all Government forces and all LTTE cadres to show restraint and discipline and to avoid confrontations with each other at all times. It is the evaluation of SLMM that there is now an urgent need for a modern, well trained police force in order to gradually normalize the situation in the Government controlled areas in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Using military forces to maintain law and order can be justified during times of war, but is highly likely to lead to unnecessary violence and increased tensions during times of peace.

In spite of numerous violent incidents during the Ceasefire period, there is no doubt that the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE leadership have shown a strong dedication for a negotiated settlement to the long conflict between them. SLMM is of the opinion that every time the parties overcome one more of those difficulties, they strengthen the ceasefire and gain more confidence in their own ability to move forward to a permanent peace.

 

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