Embargo crippling life in Vanni-Bishop

[TamilNet, Friday, 19 January 2001, 20:37 GMT]
"The people in the Vanni expressed disappointment that the Sri Lankan government talks about peace only when it has to face an election and that once in power it seeks to solve the problem only by military means" said the Bishop of the Mannar diocese of the Catholic Church, Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, on returning from a five day visit to the northern region controlled by the Liberation Tigers. The displaced civilians of the Vanni receive only 25 percent of the relief due to them from the government and most people there are unable to make a living or ply their trade because of the continuing economic embargo on the region, according to the Bishop.

@@file1@@He noted that people are in the Vanni are much affected by the severe shortage of drugs caused by draconian restrictions imposed by the Sri Lanka army on medical supplies.

A wide cross section of the people in the Vanni from Madhu to Mulangavil whom the Bishop had met during his visit had felt that the Sri Lankan government should avail itself of the cease fire unilaterally declared as a goodwill measure by the Liberation Tigers.

"The Sri Lankan government has made use of the LTTE's cease fire to begin a military offensive against them. This will never help to bring about peace. The government may want to talk from a position of military strength. But it need not wait until that to grant the rights of the war affected people. It is the government's duty whether it gains the upper hand in the war or not", the Bishop observed while commenting on the abject conditions in which the civilians of the Vanni have to live as a consequence of the officially and unofficially imposed embargo on the northern region.

 

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