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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 73

Sri Lankan Envoy Briefs Canadian Parliamentarians

Sri Lankan Envoy Briefs Canadian Parliamentarians

New York, 08 February,( Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Canada Daya Perera has written a letter to MPs and Senators in the Canadian Parliament apprising them of the situation in the country.

The letter, delivered last week, reads:

"It is with a deep sense of responsibility for the peoples of Sri Lanka and their ability to live in peace, prosperity and stability that I urgently present this letter informing you about the current situation in Sri Lanka.

I am happy to announce that the Government of Sri Lanka is finally in a position to quell the bloody rebellion by militants in the north of country, which has over the last three decades led to untold hardship and suffering to the peoples of Sri Lanka, irrespective of their ethnicity, creed and political persuasions.

In the face of this reality, numerous attempts are being made by the increasingly frantic, rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and its front organizations to mislead, distract and misinform the world community.

In this context, I would like to highlight some specific issues of concern: 1. Misinformation and Misleading Communication

A fictitious e-mail purporting to originate from Dr. Varatharajah, Office of the Regional Director of Health Services, Mullaitivu, Sri Lanka has received wide publicity. Dr. Varatharajah has since the liberation of Mullaitivu been in almost daily contact with Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage, Secretary, Ministry of Healthcare & Nutrition in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

And Dr. Varatharajah has in fact denied the authorship of the said fictitious e-mail and added that his office has no e-mail or fax facility. Further evidence that the purported communication from Dr. Varatharajah is totally false is the fact that the said fictitious e-mail provided a non-existent fax number and e-mail address.

This communication inter alia purporting to be from an unnamed officer in the Regional Office of Health Services entitled "Human catastrophe & medical emergency in the Vanni" (sic) states thus:

"Heavy fighting and continuous multi-barrel artillery shelling has resulted in more than 300 internally displaced persons being killed and over 1000 hundred injured (sic) in Suthanthirapuram, Udaiyaarkaddu and Vallipuram in the Mullaitivu District.

We are making an urgent appeal to the Government of Sri Lanka, ICRC, the UN and the international community for medical supplies and medical teams to be sent to the District to assist our staff. We currently only have 9 MMBS (sic) Doctors".

Thereafter follows a list of medicines and medical equipment of various types. It is inconceivable that a responsible government doctor (in this case the Director of Health Services in the Mullaitivu District) would send an e-mail to unknown persons by-passing the Secretary, Ministry of Healthcare & Nutrition or the Director, Health Services without calling first on the Government of Sri Lanka to ameliorate the conditions of its injured citizens needing assistance.

On January 30th, 2009 the President of Sri Lanka His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse declared, on humanitarian grounds, a 48-hour ceasefire to enable the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to be immediately evacuated to safety so that they could have recourse to proper shelter, adequate food, clean water and professional medical treatment.

The UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, while welcoming the President's announcement of safe passage to a secure environment for civilians, has issued a strong message to the LTTE to allow the civilians in the conflict zone under its control to move to non-combat areas cleared by the Government.

It is understood that the LTTE has not responded to this request but has nevertheless not allowed the trapped IDPs to move to safety and in fact are using as "human shields".

On January 21St, 2009 the President of Sri Lanka designated a Safe Zone where IDPs could shelter and the Sri Lanka Army was specifically ordered not to fire into this Safe Zone.

However, contravening the Geneva Conventions governing the laws of war, the LTTE mounted heavy artillery in the designated Safe Zone and fired at the troops in an effort to provoke the Army and get as many people as possible injured in case there was retaliatory fire.

The LTTE, in the course of the last few years has murdered a sitting President (the late Ranasinghe Premadasa), two Presidential candidates, numerous government Ministers, Tamil political leaders (including the Deputy of the Government's Peace Secretariat Mr. Ketheshwaran Loganathan), intellectuals and innocent civilians in umpteen suicide bombings and shootings.

And in India, the LTTE's leader and deputies have been indicted for planning and ordering the suicide-bombing assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi the doyen of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. These cumulative acts of cold blooded violence and brutality have resulted in 32 countries, including Canada, the US, the UK, Japan, Australia and India declaring the LTTE a "terrorist organization".

Since 2006, the Government of Sri Lanka has liberated the Eastern Province of the island from the clutches of the LTTE and has had local provincial elections and an erstwhile child soldier of the LTTE was elected as the Chief Minister, while another defector has been nominated as a Member of Parliament. Over 65% of eligible voters participated at these elections.

The LTTE are extremists who have spurned numerous attempts by successive Government of Sri Lanka to reach a negotiated settlement aimed at addressing Tamil minority grievances - i.e. beginning from the Thimpu Talks in 1985 hosted by the Government of Bhutan with the support of the Government of India up to the failed ceasefire of 2002, which the LTTE used to rearm with sophisticated weaponry to prosecute their war efforts.

In fact, the majority of the Tamil people killed in the war have been murdered by the LTTE, particularly those who did not support their stranglehold on the Tamil polity. It is tragic therefore that the LTTE call themselves the "saviours of the Tamil people".

The LTTE has a track record of calling for or announcing ceasefires when they are militarily weakened and are in need of fresh supplies of arms and ammunition and need to re-group, reorganize fighting units and recruit fresh cannon fodder.

The sudden surge of activity recently by the LTTE calling for a ceasefire and urging the world community is solely to avoid the debacle of complete defeat at the hands of the Sri Lanka Army.

It is very important that all those who are genuinely concerned about the welfare of Sri Lanka and the well being of the Tamil community to perceive the marginalization of the LTTE's destructive role in the correct light, namely: The LTTE does not represent the whole of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka. The military action against the LTTE should never be perceived as action against our brethren, the Tamil people.

The Government of Sri Lanka is extremely concerned about the predicaments of the Tamil community and shall always work with them to ensure their welfare, security, inalienable rights, aspirations and prosperity - the Tamil people are without a shadow of doubt our fellow citizens in the island of Sri Lanka.

- Asian Tribune -

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