iTRO urges countries to allow diaspora help

[TamilNet, Friday, 18 January 2008, 00:02 GMT]
International Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, iTRO, based in U.K., in a press release issued this week following the unilateral abrogation of Cease Fire Agreement by the Government of Sri Lanka, appealed to the Governments of the West "to allow space for the Tamil Diaspora to provide much needed humanitarian assistance to their people. International organizations have been restricted in their ability to access the affected areas and deliver the necessary relief and the GoSL has restricted food, medicine, fuel and construction materials to the Vanni. As a result in many areas TRO is the only organization with access to the war and tsunami affected populations," the release said.

Excerpts from the press release follows:

"Over the last 6 years international and local organisations have worked tirelessly to keep the hopes of peace alive despite the numerous threats to their personal safety. Humanitarian workers, media personnel, members of civil society and parliamentarians have been assassinated, executed, abducted and otherwise harassed by the GoSL, its affiliated paramilitaries and the state sponsored media.

"During this period international and local NGOs, parliamentarians, peace builders, and UN executives have been accused of being “terrorists”, “terrorist sympathisers” and of “funding terrorism” by the GoSL. Civil Society has been pressured through intimidation and executions to prevent any effective humanitarian interventions. All avenues for the protection of Tamils and their right to life with dignity have been systematically eliminated. Now, even the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), a strong witness to atrocities against Tamils, has been forced to leave.

"The unilateral withdrawal by the GoSL from CFA has effectively closed the door to development for the people of NorthEast. The GoSL has also seriously hampered the delivery of relief and rehabilitation to the war and tsunami affected populations over the past 2 years and the Tamils areas lag far behind in tsunami recovery with Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) reporting that its investigations reveal that over US$535 million have gone missing in Sri Lanka."

Concluding, the release said: "iTRO wishes to clearly state that the IC, through its policies and the exertion of power and influence, has had a significant degree of influence in engineering and steering the course of this conflict and the failed “peace process” to its current state of affairs and thus is culpable and must accept some responsibility for the impending calamity that is facing the Tamils."


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