Sampanthan on excluding UN missions: Sri Lankan State destroys its sovereignty

[TamilNet, Thursday, 11 September 2008, 07:41 GMT]
"The Sri Lankan Government, though it talks big about its concern for the displaced people in Vanni, does nothing more than make available to these people the meagre food items provided under the United Nations World Food Programme," said R. Sampanthan, the parliamentary group leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), while addressing the Sri Lankan Parliament on Tuesday. Also noting the Sri Lankan state's refusal to establish UN presence for monitoring the Human Rights violations, the senior Tamil politician blamed the Sri Lankan state for contributing to the "erosion and eventual destruction of its own sovereignty," in a lengthy speech during the debate on extending Emergency.

Extracts from Mr. Sampanthan's address related to the civilian plight in Vanni and the role of UN, follow:

"Around 200,000 non-combatant Tamil civilians have been compelled to flee from their homes in view of the intense military attacks, the frequent aerial bombardment and the heavy artillery fire being engaged in by the forces of the Sri Lankan State, both by day and by night, in these areas in the Vanni."

UN agencies briefed
"...The intensity of the attack is unprecedented as far as Sri Lanka is concerned. Never before has such an intense attack ever occurred in this country and by international standards it is believed that the attacks presently being carried out are as bad, as the worst that have taken place at any time in any part of the world."

"The recklessness of the attacks, Sir, can be gauged from the fact that the Government Agent, Mullaiththeevu, a rank equivalent to that of a collector of a district in India, and the wife of the medical superintendent of a district, were injured while they were asleep in their official residences late at night in the Mullaiththeevu District."

"The UN and its related agencies and international non-governmental organizations, to the extent possible in the prevailing situation, have rendered and continue to render relief and we are grateful to these organizations for the service they are rendering to these hapless people."

"The Government, though it talks big about its concern for these people, does nothing more than make available to these people the meagre food items provided under the World Food Programme."

"The fear, Sir, is that the worst is yet to come. It is the general expectation that the fighting will intensify in the weeks to come and in that event, it is inevitable that there will be further displacement, death and destruction. The oncoming monsoonal rains would only make the pathetic plight of these civilians even much worse."

"In order to achieve its unjust objective of militarily suppressing the legitimate political aspirations of the Tamil people, the Sri Lankan State is guilty of flagrant violations of international covenants to which it has subscribed and which, I submit, it is committed and bound to uphold."

"Intensification in the fighting, resulting in relief workers being further hindered or in access to these areas being cut off could result in a grave humanitarian crisis of much greater proportions than what exists at present, which could result in the displaced people being denied shelter, food, medicine, drinking water and other essentials and even institutions such as hospitals ceasing to function, all of which could have calamitous consequences in relation to the Tamil civilian population, the worst affected in this dire situation being women and children."

"People are being killed and people are going missing in all parts of the country and this is a continuing phenomenon. It happens in all the districts of the North-East and also in all other parts of the country."

"The Sri Lankan State is not able to bring this to an end."

"All efforts to establish a monitoring mechanism under the auspices of the UN have not been successful in view of the refusal of the Sri Lankan State to accept such a mechanism. I submit that such a refusal on the part of the Sri Lankan State enhances the obligation of the Sri Lankan State to bring such violations to an end."

"The Sri Lankan State is not able to do this either."

"The Sri Lankan State pleads sovereignty of the Sri Lankan State as an excuse for its refusal to accept a mechanism under UN auspices ignoring the fact that sovereignty also includes fundamental rights. Human rights and fundamental rights are inextricably intertwined and the Sri Lankan State fails to realize that when it permits the flagrant violation of human rights, it is in fact condoning the violation of Sri Lankan sovereignty and is in reality contributing to the erosion and eventual destruction of its own sovereignty."


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