NGO's demand negotiated settlement
[TamilNet, Sunday, 17 January 1999, 13:23 GMT]
"There is no respect for the lives of people today, human values are denied, human lives continue to be sacrificed and particularly little regard is shown for the lives of the Tamil people; it is said that sixty thousand people have been killed so far. The actual figure could be much higher" said Jaffna's Bishop, Rt. Rev. Thomas Savundaranayagam.
The Bishop was addressing a meeting held today in Jaffna by seventeen NGO's operating in the peninsula, including the Mother's Front and the Missing Persons' Guardian Association (MPGA).
The meeting followed a vigil in front of the Jaffna branch office of the National Human Rights Commission from 9 a.m. this morning to 1 p.m. in the afternoon. The large number of people who took part in today's vigil held oil lamps. Christian and Hindu prayers were also offered at the gathering.
The bishop said that the Tamil people would be able to live peacefully only if there is a solution with justice and honour, a solution that would fulfil their aspirations.
"Tamil people can live peacefully and with dignity if and only if a just solution that satisfies the political aspirations of the Tamil people is found," the Bishop said.
"Any other forms of solution cannot bring a permanent peace," he added.
The Bishop officially released a memorandum prepared by the 17 organisations at the meeting. The memorandum calls for a cease-fire and third party mediation, urging the Sri Lankan government to give up its slogan 'war for peace' and realize that it cannot achieve anything through war.
The document points out that there should be unconditional negotiations with third party mediation which, according to the memorandum, is inevitable.
Rev. J. Jeyamohan of the Anglican Church, Rev. Paul of the Church of South India, Rev. S. S Karunaharan of the Methodist Church, the chief prelate of the Nallai Aatheenam, Sri Paramachariya Swamihal and the president of the Jaffna Hindu priests' Association also took part in the vigil and the meeting said a spokesman for the NGOs.