Trade Unions jointly respond to 'Regaining Sri Lanka'

[TamilNet, Friday, 06 June 2003, 00:54 GMT]
The two-day workshop held in Trincomalee Vigneswara Maha Vidiyalayam concluded Thursday as representatives of trade unions, welfare organizations and humanitarian agencies in the south and Northeast agreed to submit a joint response to the Sri Lanka government's 'Regaining Sri Lanka' document prepared as a presenting document to the aid meeting to be held in Japan starting from 9 June, sources said.

The joint response should highlight to the world community that priority must be given to rebuilding the northeast and that should not be mixed up with the development of the south, several trade unions' representatives stressed at the workshop.

North South workshop
Jaffna district humanitarian agencies forum President Mr.S.Paramanathan lights the oil lamp.
Several trade union representatives reiterated at the workshop that the planning and implementation process of rebuilding the Northeast must be controlled by the people of the northeast, with majority representation by the dominant leadership along with other ethnic groups in the province, the sources said.

Representatives of more than twelve trade unions in the south and Northeast participated in the workshop, which began Wednesday. The American Solidarity Centre sponsored the workshop, sources said.

Buddhist and Hindu priests declared open the workshop by lighting the traditional oil lamp.

The National Convener of the Association for the Protection of Natural Resources and Human Rights Venerable Mahamankadawela Priyaratha said in his speech that in the name of peace process the present government is taking steps to hand over all natural resources found in the country especially in the northeast to multinational companies. Patriotic citizens of the country should not allow multinational companies to exploit our resources, Buddhist monk told the audience.

North South workshop
Representatives from South trade unions participating in the workshop.
Venerable Mahamankadawela Priyaratha said that, "we would dedicate ourselves for the people of northeast to enjoy all rights we enjoy in the country."

Former commissioner of Jaffna Municipal Council Mr.C.V.K.Sivagnanam told southern trade union representatives that they should educate the masses in the south about the urgent need to resettle all the internally displaced Tamil families in their own villages.

"More than fifteen months have passed since the signing of the Cease-Fire Agreement between the government and LTTE. Still people in the Jaffna district consider themselves prisoners as they have been living amid army camps," said Mr. Sivagnanam.

North South workshop
(L-R) Mr.T.Panchalingam (CTTU senior Assistant general secretary) Mr.Paramanathan (Jaffna humanitarian agencies forum President), Mr.M.K.Eelaventhan and Mr.C.V.K.Sivagnanam (Former commissioner of Jaffna. Municipal Council).
President of the United Federation of Labour Mr.Linus Jeyatialaka said some political leaders are now engaged in fanning communalism in the south as the United National Government has failed to tell the Sinhala masses the benefits of the Cease-Fire Agreement.

Jaffna District Humanitarian Agencies President Mr. S.Paramanathan and several others also spoke.


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