MSF to wind up operations in NorthEast
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 04 March 2003, 00:40 GMT]
MEDICINS SANS FRONTIERS (MSF), an international non-governmental medical and humanitarian organisation which is providing medical assistance to people in the northeast province Monday expressed confidence that the ceasefire agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) will lead to permanent peace in the island and that their permanent presence is not required beyond 2003, sources in Jaffna said.
The head of the MSF in Sri Lanka, Mr Yves Chartier, said at a meeting held on Monday at the Jaffna Government Nursing School that, "considering the on-going
peace process, MSF (France) aims to leave Sri Lanka in 2003."
"The projects of MSF at Point Pedro and Batticaloa will be completed by June, and MSF's offices in Madhu area and Vavuniya will be closed, end of March," said Mr.Chartier.
He further said, "MSF of course is not running away. We wanted to be certain that medical services of good quality would be still provided to the population. Today we are confident for the future and we are pleased to
see that pediatricians are working in Jaffna teaching hospital."
Mr.Chartier added, "For the past sixteen years MSF has provided medical assistance to the population of Sri Lanka without discrimination, irrespective of race, religion or political affiliation. MSF qualified expatriate medical staff including surgeons, pediatricians, anesthetists, gyneacologists , physicians and public health nurses have
been involved in the conflict areas since 1986.
"As a general principle, a medical organization such as MSF should not be present where there is no severe crisis in the health sector. Unfortunately, the health situation in a lot of countries throughout the world still makes room for our actions.
"We wish you all the best once again, in the name of MSF France, we thank all of you who have contributed to the success of our activities.
"I also wish to deeply thank our national team members who have shared years of activities, who have shown a high level of motivation, patience, competence and dedication. Without them, MSF would not have been able to carry out its activities and to provide medical support to the population.
"I also want to thank the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) for their funding support," Mr. Chartier said.