GoSLís Rights team visits to assess Jaffna situation

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 15:36 GMT]
"Normalcy is yet to return to Jaffna. The residents are deprived of the freedom of movement, and continue to experience restrictions and difficulties in getting the essential commodities since the closure of the A9 six months ago," said Rt. Rev. Thomas Soundaranayagm, the Bishop of Jaffna, participating in a meeting Wednesday, convened by a team from Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL from Colombo, held in the High Security Zone area in Jaffna town. Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management, Mr Mahinda Samarasinghe, who led the team said their mandate is to explore means of restoring normalcy to Jaffna and remedy the short comings in the supply of essential commodities.

Acting Governor for the Northern Province Rohan Wijewickrema, Commissioner of Essential Services, and UNHCR residential representatives in Colombo, accompanied Mr Samarasinghe in the Jaffna visit.

The Government Agent (GA) Jaffna, K Ganesh, Jaffna Bishop Rt. Rev. Joseph Soundaranayagam, Hindu priest Somasundara Paramachariyar, Prof. Balasundarampillai former vice Chancellor of Jaffna University, several departmental heads, officials, and religious dignitaries attended the meeting which began around 11:00 a.m. and ended around 1.30 p.m, sources close to Jaffna Secretariat said.

Colombo team arrived at Palaly airport Wednesday morning, and was flown in a military helicopter to Gnanams and Subash hotel area where the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) 51-2 brigade has its head quarters in the heart of Jaffna town.

The Jaffna Bishop emphasised that normalcy to the peninsula is not possible until impediments to educational activities continue and cases of disappearances, arrests and killings remain uninvestigated and unresolved.

Return of normalcy to the peninsula and the remedial actions related to the supply of essential commodities were explored extensively in the meeting.

The Minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe, said that the team would convey to the government particulars about the situation in Jaffna peninsula and that he is ready to take constructive steps to remedy the situation.

This meeting was originally scheduled to take place in the Jaffna Public Library building, but was later relocated to the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) head quarters for security reasons.

Government officials participating in the meeting were taken to the venue in three buses escorted by SLA troops.

The Palaly military commmand disconnected the cellular phone service in the Jaffna peninsula Wednesday.

 

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