NGO Consortium urges immediate action to release kidnapped TRO staff

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 February 2006, 08:08 GMT]
The Consortium of Non Governmental Organisation in Vavuniya, representing 43 NGOs in Vavuniya District, on Tuesday, appealed to the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, the representative of the International Committee for Red Cross in Colombo (ICRC), the Head of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and the chairperson of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies in Colombo, to take immediate action to safeguard the lives and to ensure the safe return of NGO workers who have been kidnapped.

Full text of the press release issued by the NGO Consortium in Vavuniya, follows:

LETTER OF MEMORANDUM
31st January 2006

The NGO Consortium of Vavuniya District would like to request that immediate action is taken regarding the kidnapping on 30th January 2006 of the five staff of a non-governmental organization, the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization. We wish to make an urgent appeal to the people listed below:

  • The Honourable President and Defence Minister Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse
  • The Residential Representative of the International Committee for Red Cross in Colombo
  • The Director of the Sri Lankan Monitoring Commission in Colombo
  • The Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission in Sri Lanka
  • The Chairperson of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies in Colombo


Dear Honourable Sirs and Madam,

On 30th January 2006 five members of a registered non-governmental organization, the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization, were travelling in a vehicle from Batticaloa to Vavuniya on work-related duties regarding office training. Just after they had registered and left the Welikanda army checkpoint, their vehicle was ordered to pull over by an unidentified white van that had been following them. The five NGO members were forcibly pulled out of their vehicle and abducted. This incident deeply concerns us and we feel the need to bring this to your attention.

Most of the needs of people affected by poverty, war, the Tsunami and other such suffering over the last number of years have been met by the NGO community in Sri Lanka. At this point more than ever in Sri Lankan history we believe NGOs play a very important and necessary role. It therefore becomes a critical situation when an NGO like the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization, which is registered under the Sri Lankan government law and has been accepted and been working with the government and with international agencies for the benefit of the needy people, is threatened. It is alarming that the lives and work of any NGO staff are endangered and we are concerned, especially as we have not been able to obtain any information about the whereabouts of these five staff and we are extremely worried about their security and their lives.

Here at the NGO Consortium of Vavuniya District we work hard to coordinate activities and ensure that services to the needy people in the Vavuniya area are of good quality and are delivered in the proper manner and with sensitivity. It is therefore important to us that we bring this grave matter to your kind attention.

We therefore appeal to you as the most powerful and influential people in Sri Lanka, and to those of you who are working here to ensure human rights and the rights of the Sri Lankan people. As the NGO Consortium of the Vavuniya District we seriously and urgently appeal to you to intervene in this matter as quickly as possible in order that these five NGO workers are released so that they can return safely to their homes.

With deep respect and with thanks

J.A.A. MANAF
V.C. MAHENDRAN
T. KIRUBAHARAN
P. NARASINGHAM
M. NIKHSALA
Y. PRINTHA
V. SUBRAMANIYAM
K. RASARATNAM
A.R.A KHAN

 

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