Food and medicine should not be human shields!

- Virekesari Editorial

(August 25, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Thomas Saundaranayakam, Bishop of Jaffna, has made an appeal to help 200,000 people, who have become refugees as a result of the heavy battle in the Vanni.

“The battle between the security forces and LTTE has reached a peak. Innocent people are caught in the war. With the advancement of the forces, the people are running hither and thither not knowing what to do. It is the innocent civilians, who are affected. I am worried about these people. Only God can save them.

The displaced people are in a sorry plight. They have no shelter, water, food or medical facilities. There is no permission to take the essential medical and food items to that area. Even if the government sends aid, people cannot receive them as a result of the restrictions imposed by the army.”—Thus he states in his appeal.

Local and International NGO’s have brought to the notice of the HQ that they are unable to provide support fully to the displaced people.

However, Mahinda Samarasingha, Human Rights and Disaster Relief Minister says “ There is no difficulty caused to the displaced people as a result of the war. The government is paying attention in providing essential items to the displaced”

He also says that the Government Agents of Killinochchi and Mullaitheevu stated in the presence of the international representatives that there is no truth in the story that displaced people are living under trees.

Meanwhile, Suresh Premachandren, TNA Parliamentarian has expressed views denying the Minister’s statement. He reiterates that the Minister will know the truth only if he personally visits the area. In today’s computer world it ‘s not difficult to find the truth regarding the situation. It is a surprise that a matter that is known to the world is not known to the minister.

It would be appropriate to point out here that Amnesty International has pointed out that the government has failed to ensure that the displaced people receive the aid.

Therefore, the government should come forward to take steps to ensure that displaced people get all relief without any problem and the government should give permission to the local and foreign NGO’s to reach the displaced people with help assistance!

(An English translation of the Editorial in Virakesari, a Tamil daily, based in Colombo.)
- Sri Lanka Guardian