TNA decries SLA's taking over of NorthEast Welfare camps

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 05 January 2005, 16:09 GMT]
"The Armed Forces taking over the management of the Welfare Camps in the Northeast would be counterproductive and would destabilize all arrangements hitherto made at the district level in the Northeast to address the several consequences of the calamity," said Mr. Sampanthan, Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian in a letter addressed to the Sri Lanka President requesting her to rescind the order given to the Armed Forces to take over the management of the Welfare Camps in the Northeast.

Full text of the letter follows:

"Her Excellency President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga,
President’s House,
Colombo.

Your Excellency,

TSUNAMI DISASTER

Given to understand that an order has been made by you that all Welfare Camps be taken over and managed by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. This order would apparently apply to all Welfare Camps including those in the Northeast not situated in LTTE controlled territory.

All the people in occupation of over 95% of the Welfare Centres in the Northeast in areas not under LTTE control, are Tamil speaking, vast majority of whom are Tamils.

I have received reports of Armed Forces personnel entering Welfare Centres in Trincomalee with weapons and attempting to take control of such Centres.

People in occupation of such Centres resent such action on the part of the Armed Forces. I am informed that the situation is tense at some Welfare Centres.

These Welfare Centres have hitherto been managed by TRO and members of Civil Society with the aid of the LTTE and public servants at the divisional level. There is no reason whatever for such management to be interfered with.

The District Task Force in Trincomalee had at its last meeting appointed a Camp Management Committee to be in charge of each Welfare Camp.

Welfare Camps in the Northeast with Tamil speaking people must be under civilian management, possessed with the capacity to empathise with the victims. Based upon experience steps could be taken to improve such civilian management.

The Sri Lankan Armed Forces I regret to state are almost 100% Sinhala. In the two decade long conflict tens of thousands of Tamil Civilians have been victims at the hands of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. It is much too premature for these memories to be erased.

The Armed Forces taking over the management of the Welfare Camps in the Northeast would be counterproductive and would destabilize all arrangements hitherto made at the district level in the Northeast to address the several consequences of the calamity.

Earnestly urge you to rescind the above order in the Northeast.

Yours Sincerely,
R. SAMPANTHAN M.P."

 

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