Feature Article

International media, human rights watchdogs lopsided - Jaffna MP

[TamilNet, Saturday, 29 November 2008, 20:39 GMT]
"The Colombo government is embarked upon a killing spree of children and women in refugee camps who are already victims of war, displacement, cyclone and floods. This act of 'state terrorism' is in what way less deplorable than the Mumbai killings, for failing to attract condemnation and action from the International Community," asks Padmini Sithamparanathan, Tamil National Alliance MP for Jaffna.

"The so-called international media and human rights organizations are shameless in exhibiting their impotency they have acquired by becoming stooges to the lopsided agenda of the international politics of terrorism which is nothing but geopolitics," she added.

Pathmini Sithamparanathan, Jaffna MP
Padmini Sithamparanathan, Jaffna MP
Six days of torrential rains with intermittent gale have caused the death of more than ten, injured hundreds and have displaced hundreds of thousands in Jaffna and Vanni.

The people of Vanni especially face untold sufferings, deprived of everything including a guarantee to live.

The latest aerial bombing of the Sri Lanka Air Force has targeted a location well known as a refugee camp according to news reports.

"This heinous act has resulted in the death and injury of many, most of them, children, women and elderly, who were already suffering the misfortunes of war and nature," the Jaffna MP said.

"The international media, which jumps at the slightest occasion to blare about terrorism, is by its silence and biased news reporting encourages the genocidal agenda of state terrorism in Sri Lanka."

The US based Human Rights Watch, while pressuring the Colombo government to allow aid groups to help cyclone victims in Vanni, has come out with an unwarranted statement that “the LTTE bears a heavy responsibility for the suffering of the civilian population in the Vanni, by refusing to allow civilians their basic rights to freedom of movement," she said.

"What the Human Rights Watch needs to do is seeing that the people get immediate aid in the very place they live. It may not have the guts to do so by pressing the International Community, but this is not the time for it to abet the wishes of the government waging a genocidal war."

In its press release the HRW concedes: " Human Rights Watch has previously reported that the Sri Lankan authorities have detained many displaced persons leaving the Vanni, holding them in closely guarded militarized camps near Mannar town. The government claims this is necessary for the safety of the detained civilians themselves, but the families detained in the camps have repeatedly stated their desire to leave; the government’s detention policy violates the rights of these displaced persons to freedom of movement."

In such a helpless background what justification is there for the HRW to expect the people to come out of Vanni, the MP asks.

"Many civilians are cold-bloodedly killed in the East and a large number of Tamils have been arrested in the South in the recent days. Thousands of Tamils are virtually kept as hostages for a long time in custody of the Colombo government. It is a shame to human rights that Hundreds of Tamils in Jaffna have to voluntarily go into custody to safe life. "

The Human Rights Watch itself came out with a statement a few days ago on the escalation of human rights abuses in the so-called 'liberated' East. The human rights organisations privately agree that there is no better place of safety for the people of Vanni.

Pathmini Sithamparanathan, Jaffna MP
Padmini Sithamparanathan, Jaffna MP
What guarantee the human rights groups were been able to give the Tamils of the so-called liberated East, or in the other parts of the island outside of Vanni, to justify their call now for the freedom of movement of the people of Vanni, that too at a time when there is an utmost urgency for the aid to reach their doorsteps, asked the MP.

It is high time that the International Community and the human rights organisations prevail upon the Sri Lanka government to stop the war, enter into peace negotiations and resolve the human crisis in the island, she said.

In the meantime, Brad Adams, the Asia director of Human Rights Watch, while asking the Colombo government on Friday to lift restrictions on UN and other groups to operate in Vanni, has said: “If the humanitarian community can operate in conflict zones like eastern Congo, Somalia, and Iraq, they can operate in the Vanni as well. The government’s argument that the safety of humanitarian workers in the Vanni cannot be guaranteed comes across as more of an excuse to conduct military operations without scrutiny than a statement of concern.”


Related Articles:
28.11.08   Norwegian Refugee Council worker among victims of Batticaloa..
25.11.08   Rights watchdog faults Colombo for deteriorating human right..
02.07.08   HRW calls on GoSL to end illegal internment of IDPs in Manna..
18.06.08   385 Tamil civilians languish in SLA detention in Nanaaddaan ..

External Links:
HRW: Sri Lanka: Allow Aid Groups to Help Cyclone Victims


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