Phased withdrawal from HSZ, Govt's moral responsibility- paper
[TamilNet, Saturday, 04 September 2004, 12:22 GMT]
"Two and a half years have elapsed since the MoU was signed. The Sri Lanka Government is morally bound to show its concern over the question of Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs). It should have been possible to withdraw from several areas especially from the areas where several schools and places of worship are trapped but with prevailing racist politics in Sri Lanka it is naive to expect the Sri Lanka Government of the Security Forces to do this," said Thinakural, a Tamil daily, in its Saturday editorial.
"LTTE's Head of the Political Wing, S.P. Thamilchelvan, pointed out to UNHCR's Neil Wright that the IDPs are still languishing in refugee camps, that even in areas where the IDPs have been resettled they are undergoing untold hardship sans compensation to rebuild their destroyed or damaged houses. The IDPs are yet unable to return to their normal lives. Neil Wright explained UNHCR's role and commitment on the question of resettlement and of essential problems faced by individuals. However, one has to be skeptical about the extent to which the UNHCR can carry out the stated commitments, Because one can see no solution to this problem as long as the Armd Forces remain on the lands under occupation by them," said the editorial.
"Normally, military complexes are established in areas uninhabited by people and no HSZs created in such areas will affect the populace.
"In Sri Lanka, it is in thickly populated areas like Palaly, Karainagar, Thenmaradchy and the heart of the Jaffna Town that military bases exist, resulting in thousands of people being deprived of their fundamental right to live in their own homes. There has been no change in the attitude of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces towards the HSZ. The creation of the HSZs is clearly to ensure the security of the Armed Forces at the expense of the deprived people. In Jaffna peninsula alone 30,000 families are helplessly stranded. The affected people can hardly have any faith in peace," the editorial said.
"We cannot expect complete removal of the HSZs at once, but at least there should be adequate withdrawal to facilitate resettlement of the IDPs and that is the Govt.'s moral responsibility," said the paper.
The editorial called on the Tamil Member of Parliaments and civil groups to "apply concerted pressure on the Sri Lanka Government on its continued violation of the fundamental rights of the displaced people, and highlight the plight of the IDPs to the International community, to force the Govt. to alter its policies towards the HSZ."