Tamil diaspora consortium welcomes US statement, calls for urgent action

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 February 2006, 13:13 GMT]
The International Federation of Tamils (IFT), a Geneva based consortium of Tamil diaspora organisations, in a renewed SOS call to the International Community on Wednesday, has warned that Colombo's denial of "any knowledge" of the abudctions of the humanitarian workers in the east, increased the risk of danger to the lives of the victims. The organisation has welcomed the statement issued by the US Embassy in Sri Lanka.

"If pressure is exerted on the President of Sri Lanka to force his armed forces and the paramilitary groups attached to them to produce the missing TRO officers, the lives of the kidnapped humanitarian workers may be saved," the organisation said in a press release on Tuesday.

While on one hand, attempt by the Norwegian facilitator is succeeding in bringing the parties to the conflict to the negotiating table, the Sinhala and Buddhist extremist forces, on the other, appear to be edging towards thwarting it, IFT said.

During the election campaign and even after the victory of Mahinda Rajapakse as President, the JVP and JHU, the extreme Sinhala nationalist forces have been "clamouring for banning the TRO," the statement observed.

The IFT press release on Tuesday also censured the International Community for statements issued prior to the recent visit by the Norwegian Special Envoy Mr. Erik Solheim to the island. The statements were biased towards the Sri Lankan Government, according to the IFT statement. Such statements have encouraged the Sri Lankan armed forces to "act uncensored," the press release had noted.

On Wednesday, the IFT, welcoming the statement issued by the US Embassy demanding the release of the abducted humanitarian workers, urged the International Community, in a renewed SOS call, to use "personal and official influence and goodwill" to save the lives of ten TRO volunteers.

"We thank the US Embassy for its prompt Statement demanding release of those abducted in the vicinity of the army checkpoint where the victims reported first, before being taken away," the SOS call by the IFT said.

"We plead with the UN, the EU, the Co-Chairs and the entire IC to emulate the US example," the SOS call issued by the IFT on Wednesday noted.

UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator’s Office in Colombo, on behalf of UN agencies in Sri Lanka, has called for the immediate release of the abducted humanitarian aid workers.

 

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