Halt mass murder of Tamils, South Asians appeal to UN, India

[TamilNet, Saturday, 11 April 2009, 20:16 GMT]
In a letter addressed to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Head of UNHCR, Navi Pillay, and to the Indian Priime Minister Manmohan Singh, several rights activists, journalists, and eminent citizens of India and Nepal, expressed concern about report of mass deaths of Tamil civilians in the Vanni region, and demanded that "UN and the International Community immediately intervene to ensure immediate cessation of the brutal and savage war in the Vanni region of Sri Lanka and ensure immediate humanitarian relief to the suffering thousands caught in the middle of the war." The South Asian citizens also urged all "National Governments to oppose all forms of financial aid to Sri Lanka until it ceases the war against its own citizens and ensures humanitarian aid and relief to be reached to the suffering thousands caught up in the Vanni region."

Pointing out the reported deaths of over 700 Tamils in the last 3-4 days alone, the letter said, "[o]ur worst fears are turning true. The sheer scale of artillery and explosive attacks and the massive deaths of Tamils points out to the grave situation of the Vanni region becoming the graveyard for the annihilation of thousands of Tamil civilians," the letter said.

Referring to the inhumane conditions the civilians are facing, the letter said: "The innocent Tamil civilians have been living a precarious life without food, water and health supplies for the last 8-10 weeks. Emaciated, starved, severely malnourished and seriously injured, the women, children, aged persons and remaining men are already dying. They deserve the protection that can be offered by concerned world citizens who by demanding an end to the war will also be asserting a chance for these innocent men, women and children to live."

Voicing extreme frustration at the silence and apathy of the International community to unfolding catastrophe, the Asian citizen's letter said, "[t]he reality is that the Sri Lankan Government has utilised the `war on terror' as a cover to systematically destroy all democratic processes and institutions in Sri Lanka. While retaining the facade of democracy, the government has turned the state into a terror apparatus, crushing not just the Tamils, but also others challenging its actions."

The letter called upon the "Governments in the South Asian region, viz., the Government of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives to intervene forcefully to stop the genocidal war that threatens peace not just in Sri Lanka, but in all of South Asia."

Signatories of the letter included prominent Indian rights activist, Arundhati Roy, former Justice of Delhi High Court, Justice Rajinder Sachar, Professors at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Prof. Amit Bhaduri and Prof Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Former Nepal Commissioner for Human Rights, Sushil Pyakurel, and many others.

The Statement of Concerned South Asians has been coordinated and circulated by Dr. V. Suresh, President, People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Tamil Nadu & Puducherry.


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