SLA bars INGOs from entering NorthEast without MoD permission

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 28 December 2005, 01:01 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has temporarily barred all International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOS), excluding UNHCR, ICRC and Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), from entering Liberation Tigers Controlled areas in the NorthEast, NGO sources in Colombo said. NGO officials speculated that the move was tactical and instituted in response to the deteriorating conditions in the NorthEast. Procedures to obtain MoD clearance is expected to be instituted soon, according to the same sources.

Obtaining Ministry of Defense (MoD) clearance to enter any part of the North and East used to be standard practice before the CeaseFire Agreement was signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers in 2002.

The procedure was that INGOs would work with an approved list of names with all consultants and visitors being approved on an individual basis for each trip, sources in Colombo said.

"Obviously we want to move to a approved list status as soon as possible, as the alternative of approving each and every inidividual trip beforehand is a nightmare to manage. In the past good contacts at the ministry counted for a lot. Generally speaking passes used to take 2-3 days to be processed, but sometime much longer," Steve Durrant, ASB (Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Deutschland eV, a German NGO) Country Director said in a note sent to his INGO collegues Wednesday.

He added that eventhough the "total shut down of movement into NorthEast is likely to be temporary, the policy of getting MoD clearance could well be here to stay," anticipating continued restrictions to INGO movement in and out of NorthEast in the future.

 

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