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Sri Lankans in Germany write to Foreign Minister Steinmeier

By Lal Guneratne from Berlin

(April 12, Berlin, Sri Lanka Guardian) The "Sri Lankan against LTTE Terror - Germany" (SLGLTG) group have written to Frank Walter-Steinmeier, the foreign minister and the next chancellor candidate from the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany, about the deteriorating situation in Puthumathalan area in Northern Sri Lanka, and requesting the support of the German government to put pressure to the LTTE release the civilians trapped in the fighting.

The group note that the Sri Lankan government has created a “no-fire” safety zone to keep the civilian population away from areas of conflict. However, the LTTE has placed heavy artillery within this “no-fire” zone, putting these civilians in grave danger. The group also note that the LTTE are forcibly recruiting civilians to be used as human shields in clear violation of their human rights and shooting the civilians who flee the LTTE grip.

The SLGLTG points out that supporters of the LTTE are operating in Germany under the pretext of helping trapped civilians and request that the German government puts a stop to these actions.

The SLGLTG sent the same letter to the following political personalities:

Committee on German Foreign Affairs

Committee on German Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid

German Embassy Colombo

Human Right Watch - Germany

Amnesty International - Germany

Secretariat to HE the President of Sri Lanka

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

UN Special Representative on the human rights of internally displaced.

EU Secretary-General/High Representative

EU Commissioner for External Relations

ICRC Geneva

ICRC Sri Lanka

HRW USA

Amnesty International USA

Sri Lanka Guardian publishes the full letter.

AN APPEAL TO SAVE THE LIFES OF TAMIL FAMILIES, RELATIVES AND FRIENDS

Dear Minister Steinmeier,

We, the undersigning citizens of Sri Lankan origin, are writing to you most urgently to earnestly demand that you bring maximum pressure on the LTTE, to free the Tamil civilians trapped in the Sri Lankan “No-fire zone”.

1. These innocent civilian hostages must immediately be rescued from the clutches of the LTTE.

2. The Sri Lankan Government created the “No-Fire” safety zone, so that the civilian population is being kept away from areas of conflict. But the LTTE has placed heavy artillery amongst the civilian population within this “No-Fire Zone”, putting these civilians in grave danger. This clearly demonstrates that the LTTE is not concerned about the safety of the innocent Tamil civilians trapped in the fighting area, but are fighting for their own survival, using these innocent civilians as human shields.

3. The LTTE are forcibly recruiting civilians to be placed in dangerous positions, to be used as human shields or to be given rudimentary arms training and sent to the front, much against their wishes. These are clear violations of basic human rights.

4. We know that the majority of Tamils live in harmony with Sinhala, Muslim and Burghers in many parts of Sri Lanka, without any discrimination. We therefore hold the conviction that it is the duty of the Sri Lankan Government to take all possible measures to rescue these trapped Tamil citizens - even by military force as last option.

5. Many of us in Germany are fully convinced that Your government can and should do much more towards the liberation of the civilian hostages. We thus appeal to you most humbly and seriously, to use Your good office in every possible way, to coerce the LTTE into releasing these innocent Tamil civilians held hostage by them.

6. Furthermore we are urging You, to put maximum possible pressure on the front -organizations of the LTTE operating in Germany, to stop them from providing support to the internationally banned terrorist-organization LTTE under the pretext of helping trapped civilians. Contrary to what supporters of the LTTE want to maintain, all successful refugees from the “No-Fire Zone” report unanimously of gross humanrights-violations.

7. We urgently appeal to your Office to do more to assist these hostages, so that they can exercise their fundamental rights of movement and live without fear or coercion .

We sincerely hope, that this petition will cause You to act fast, to save the lives of our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, our families and friends who are being trapped in the “No-Fire Zone”, from the clutches of the ruthless LTTE terrorists - before it is too late !.

In the name of humanity for the Tamil People in the “No Fire Zone”.

With best Regards

Signed

SLGLTG

-Sri Lanka Guardian
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