Commonwealth Union delegation visits Jaffna

[TamilNet, Thursday, 27 February 2003, 17:07 GMT]
A four-member delegation of the Commonwealth Union, led by its Secretary General, Mr. Don McKinnon, arrived in Jaffna Thursday and held a meeting with the Government Agent and representatives of people's organizations, sources said.

The CU delegation comprised Mr.Amitar Banerji, Director, Secretary General's office, Mr. Mathew Neuhans, Director, Political Affairs Division and Mr. Joel Kibazo, Director, Communications and Public Affairs Division

The GA for Jaffna, Mr.S.Pathmanathan, chaired the meeting. He brought to the notice of the CU delegation that more than forty thousand displaced families are still staying in refugee camps and welfare centres as they are not allowed to resettle in their own lands which are occupied by the Sri Lankan armed forces in the name of high security zones, sources said.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr. K. Paramanathan, President of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies in Jaffna told the visiting delegation, “Normalcy has not yet returned in the lives of the Jaffna people, although one year has passed since the signing of a ceasefire agreement by the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.”

The President of the Jaffna District People's Forum, Mr.C.V.K.Sivagnanam, told the visiting delegation that the LTTE leader, Mr. V. Pirapaharan, took arms to safeguard Tamils from being massacred by the Sinhalese dominated State armed forces. "The sacrifice of thousands of LTTE fighters in the battlefield has led to the present peace process. Hence the member countries of the Commonwealth Union should see that the present peace process is not derailed by anti peace elements in the country,” he said.

Mr. Don McKinnon, the CU Secretary General, in reply said that he was glad to note that peace has been prevailing in the Jaffna district for one year. “If the necessity arises, member countries of the Commonwealth are prepared to assist the parties concerned to take forward the peace process,” he said.

 

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