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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 75

LTTE at the receiving end at the public hearing on Sri Lanka by the European Parliament

Colombo, 07 June, ( Several Members of the European Parliament condemned terrorism by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a cause of concern, and the need for the LTTE to return to the negotiating table. Some MEPs identified terrorism as the root cause of the prevailing situation in Sri Lanka, and highlighted the complete denial of human rights of civilians living in areas under LTTE control.

MEPs stated that the prime target of the LTTE are the Tamils themselves, and also highlighted the need for long term solution that reaches out to the Tamil population of Sri Lanka in order to fulfill their aspirations.

The Development Committee of the European Parliament conducted a Public hearing in Brussels relating to Sri Lanka on 05th June, 2007.

According to a statement released by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Brussels:

“The hearing was conducted in two parts, the first part dealing with the “Impact of Post-Tsunami Reconstruction in Sri Lanka and Indonesia” and the second part dealing with the “Human Rights Situation and Humanitarian Space in Sri Lanka“. A large number of NGOs, Media representatives and Members of the European Parliament (MEP) attended the Public Session.

“In the Session relating to Post-Tsunami reconstruction, Dr. Jayantha Samarasinghe of Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA), outlined the progress made by the Government in the several stages of Post Tsunami relief, recovery and reconstruction. He also outlined the areas where further international assistance is required such as housing and livelihood restoration. Mr. Gamini Hettiarachchi, Deputy Director General of Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA) gave a description of the Post –Tsunami Disaster Management framework in Sri Lanka, including the Disaster Management Act, the National Disaster Management Council and the setting up of the Disaster Management Centre.

“In concluding this Session MEP Niranjan Deva Aditya expressed satisfaction over the progress Sri Lanka has made in reconstruction of affected sectors.

“The Session relating to the Human Rights Situation and the Humanitarian Space in Sri Lanka was chaired by Mr. Josep Borrell Fontelles, MEP and former President of the European Parliament. In addition to the Statement by the Sri Lanka Delegation statements were also made by Human Rights Watch, Action Against Hunger, and the Executive Director of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies, Jeevan Thiagarajah.

“At the outset Ambassador Aruni Wijewardane, Sri Lanka Ambassador in Austria outlined the importance of Sri Lanka’s relations with the EU as a development partner, as well as Co-chair of the peace process. Ambassador Wijewardane highlighted that the human rights and humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka arises in the context of the long conflict with a ruthless separatist terrorist organization – the LTTE. The Government is committed to a negotiated sustainable solution to the conflict. The Government is also engaged in a broad consultative process whereby All Parties in Parliament have been invited to engage in a common effort to evolve a meaningful political settlement to the conflict.

"Ambassador Wijewardane further outlined the measures taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to address human rights and humanitarian issues including the Presidential Commission of Inquiry, the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), the Mahanama Thilakaratne Commission and the Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Assistance under the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights. It was also recalled that the European Parliament in previous Resolutions had called on Member States to freeze the assets of the LTTE associated financial holdings.

“In responding to concerns raised, Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando outlined the progress made by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry as well as in the Action Against Hunger case.

The Chair of the session concluded that an extensive debate had been held on the issues relating to the Human Rights Situation and Humanitarian Space in Sri Lanka, and thanked the representatives of the Government and NGO Speakers for their participation. He also invited the Government Delegation to share any further information and clarifications on matters raised during the discussion, with the Members of the Development Committee of the European Parliament. “

The Sri Lanka Delegation was led by Ambassador Aruni Wijewardane, Sri Lanka Ambassador in Austria and assisted by Mr. Shavindra Fernando, Deputy Solicitor General, Dr. Jayantha Samarasinghe of Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA), Mr. Gamini Hettiarachchi as well as the Sri Lanka Embassy in Brussels.

- Asian Tribune -

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