TRO urges GoSL to guarantee security of humanitarian workers

[TamilNet, Monday, 08 January 2007, 16:22 GMT]
The Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation, which has been subjected to Sri Lankan Police raids and paramilitary attacks, has urged the Government of Sri Lanka to guarantee security of the humanitarian staff of the organistion. The Trincomalee office of the TRO was attacked Saturday and Sunday nights by armed men, believed to be paramilitary members operated by the Sri Lanka Army. The attack on Trinomcalee TRO office comes after Sri Lankan police raid on Friday.

Full text of the press release issued by the TRO follows:

Paramilitaries attack TRO Trinco Office; Police Raid TRO Colombo Office

Over the past four days the TRO offices in Colombo, on Monday 8 January, and the government controlled areas of the NorthEast, the Trincomalee and Vavuniya offices on Friday 5 January, and the office, have been raided by Police (CID) who thoroughly searched the offices and removed computers, documents, files, and other material from all the offices. The Trincomalee office was also attacked and ransacked by armed paramilitaries on Saturday and Sunday nights.

On Saturday the security guard was tied up with rope and assaulted. He was not present on Sunday due to fear of being assaulted again.

The attackers, who were speaking both Sinhala and Tamil ransacked the office on both nights burning documents and destroying furniture. On Saturday night the paramilitary stole the only computer that had not been taken by the Police during the Friday 5 January 2007 raid of the office. The paramilitaries also removed a photocopy machine, fax machine and other office equipment.

In the Sunday attack of the office the paramilitaries stole the office Toyota Mini-Cab Pickup truck. A full list of the items stolen on each night is attached below.

TRO has reported the attack to the Trincomalee Police.

TRO requests that the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) guarantee the safety and security of humanitarian relief workers during this time of conflict. Security for the TRO offices in the GoSL controlled areas is the responsibility of the GoSL of Police and security forces. The GoSL has consistently failed to provide any such security and has failed to investigate and charge any persons in the 20 attacks on TRO offices or TRO personnel in the past 2 years.

Saturday, 6 January 2007
Tied up Security guard and abused and threatened him.
Burned files
Stole the following items:

  • 2 cupboards
  • 2 tables
  • 1 computer
  • 1 fax
  • 1 photocopy machine
  • 2 telephones
  • 20” TV
  • 2 computer monitors
  • 3 printers
  • 2 digital cameras
  • 1 video camera
  • 2 table fans
  • 2 wall clocks
  • Stationary items

Sunday, 7 January 2007
Security guard was not present and office was empty due to the threats and abuse on Saturday night.
Broke down door to office
Burnt docs

  • Minicab vehicle
  • 3 table
  • 6 cupboards
  • 1 telephone
  • 1 conference table
  • 8 conference chairs
  • 30 plastic chairs
  • 3 plastic tables
  • 4 file lockers
  • 12 office chairs
  • 4 computer tables
  • tents
  • boxes of candles
  • 18 hurricane cookers
  • 1 sofa

10 December 2006: 40 people killed and 100 injured when GOSL forces shelled 3 TRO IDP camps in Palchchenai, Kandalady and Vammivadduvan.

8 November 2006: Kathiraveli 47 people killed and 136 injured when GOSL forces shelled a TRO IDP camp and TRO Sonobo Children’s Home was damaged with 12 children injured.

August 2006: TRO boat making yard in Eachchilampattu shelled by the Sri Lanka Air Force. Details not known due to lack of access. Eachchilampattu is currently a no man’s land.

23 August 2006: TRO Jaffna office destroyed.

19 August 2006: A boat making yard built by TRO to repair and re-supply tsunami affected fishermen with boats was bombed by the Sri Lanka Air Force. All boats under construction (or finished) were destroyed as was the store room and the main building.

15 August 2006: Amparai TRO/NECORD office attacked - shooting & grenade thrown.

31 July 2006: Punochchimunai, Muslim Village, “Rebuild a Village Project” funded by EMERGENCY (Italy). The storeroom at the work site was broken into and over 200 bags of cement were stolen. The staff and security guard working on the project had resigned or “stayed home” from work due to intimidation by alleged Karuna Group representatives who threaten the workers with death if they continued working for TRO.

15 July 2006: Grenade attack on TRO Jaffna office. One grenade thrown into compound during daylight hours within 100 meters of a GoSL army checkpoint.

13 July 2006: Cement being transported to a tsunami “Rebuild a Village Project” being implemented in Vaharai, Batticaloa District with funding from TRO Switzerland was hijacked in Valaichennai by paramilitary forces. The truck & cement have yet to be recovered.

29 June 2006: Boat engines for boats that TRO was providing to the fishermen of Punochchimunai villlage were being transported from Trincomalee to Punochchimunai in a truck when they were stopped by Police in Polonaruwa. The driver and truck were held for 3 days.

26 April 2006: GoSL forces shelled and bombed civilian areas of the Trincomalee District. TRO Santhosam Children's Home damaged by a Kfir bomb. TRO’s office at Kadakarachenai damaged by bombing/shelling. TRO Muttur / Eachchilampattu office attacked/bombed – food store damaged

29 & 30 January 2006: Abduction of 7 staffers in Welikanda area – still missing/disappeared.

7 August 2003, 13 June 2005, 27 September 2005: Three grenade & machine gun attacks on TRO Batticaloa Office. Security Guard killed in 27 September attack, 2 Staffers injured & 5 vehicles destroyed during 13 June attack.


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