Appeal to citizens in Europe, and to their political representatives the MP’s and MEP’s, to make an open stand against the full scale military onslaught on the Vanni, Sri Lanka, that is taking place now with terrible humanitarian consequences for the Tamil speaking population who have decided to live in this area. Moreover, to demand that the Sri Lankan government immediately overturn their order for the NGO’s to leave the Vanni – which has effectively cleared all international witnesses to the coming massacre.
The United Nations said on September 9 that it was withdrawing all its aid agency personnel from Sri Lanka’s embattled north, following a government order to quit ahead of a major military offensive. Only a few aid agencies, including the UN outfits, still operate inside the rebel-held Vanni district in northern Sri Lanka. Government forces are currently engaged in a major push to dismantle the guerrilla’s state there. Sri Lanka’s minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said Colombo could not guarantee the safety of aid workers “given the present situation”. The UN statement said it had noted, “The government recognizes it holds primary responsibility for ensuring the safety of humanitarian workers”. It said it would re-assess how it could address the humanitarian needs of civilians. Colombo wants to avoid troops being accused of killing aid workers in a repeat of the August 2006 massacre of 17 local employees of the French aid agency Action Against Hunger in the east of the island Aid officials have reported that about 134,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Vanni as a result of the current wave of fighting.
The massacre on the civilians has started. A key sluice transporting water to thousands of acres of agricultural lands in Vanni sustained damage in a Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) indiscriminate bombardment on October 3 near Kilinochchi town where LTTE’s Peace Secretariat is located. Meanwhile, SLAF bombers dropped bombs in the vicinity of the UNICEF office located close to Kilinochchi three times. Centre for Women’s Development and Rehabilitation (CWDR) was heavily damaged in the air strike. Two local employees of the UNICEF, who were inside the office, narrowly escaped from the attack as the roof of the building was shaken by a bomb that hit the fence of the office, according to initial reports. Neighboring house sustained heavy damage in the attack. The sluice located east of the A9 road, channels water from a tank to agricultural lands in Paranthan, north of Kilinochchi. The tank gains water from the rainfalls and from Kilinochchi tanks. The destruction would cause flooding. 3 huts belonging to IDPs (Internally displaced People) and a small shop were completely destroyed and 12 houses sustained damage. Seven houses in the vicinity of the UNICEF office were damaged. In the meantime, the SLAF bombers also attacked a civilian settlement near Vettimanai, a counseling aid center for mentally ill women, causing tension and panic among the few patients who were being transferred from the counseling centre.
Sri Lanka seems very likely to be the next Rwanda. After the genocide in Rwanda, all countries and the UN were very regretful in that they did not do anything to prevent the genocide. Sri Lanka is now mirroring the very same events that led up to the genocide in Rwanda. The UN has left Vanni and the Government of Sri Lanka is revving up its engine to enter and destroy Tamil speakers under the pretext of destroying terrorists.
Dr. Peter Schalk, professor Dr. John Neelsen, professor
October 7, 2008