The Need for International Action

[TamilNet, Sunday, 24 November 2002, 16:45 GMT]
Both Parties recognise that unless the people urgently experience practical benefits from the process much that has been gained can be lost.

The whole population has suffered from the consequences of the war. The above recognition is a political reality in the south. There are, however, ample reports and documentation that demonstrate beyond question that in terms of displacement, damage and devastation the North and East has had to bear the overwhelming brunt of the conflict.

It is in this context we are assembled with a mandate to identify and prioritise immediate needs of the civilian population of this region, identify the activities required to meet these needs, select implementing institutions, and monitor the progress of activities initiated.

We, however, also recognise that the state of Sri Lanka, despite its considerable efforts, is unable to provide the resources needed to meet even the most immediate needs.

Therefore, the Parties – with gratitude for its political support to the process – approach the international community to demonstrate this support by enabling the two Parties in co-operation to assist the people of the North and East in reaping early and tangible benefits of the ongoing process.

We finally recognise that in order for such assistance to be sustainable:

  • Basic human rights, gender equality and democracy must be strengthened for the entire population in the region. The Parties will actively pursue this necessity.

  • A final solution must be arrived at through negotiations. The Parties have already demonstrated their intent, and have reiterated their commitment to continue their co-operation in order to achieve this objective.

  • Reconciliation must take place between the ethnic communities and between individuals. We will pursue this goal through introduction of programmes with this as an aim.

In the above context we also draw attention to the Guiding Principles laid down by the Parties for implementation of activities to meet the immediate needs of the population (annex 1). We pledge to do our utmost to ensure that these guiding principles are adhered to.

The Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation Needs
On the table in front of the Committee are documented "needs assessments" from GOSL, LTTE, UN, the Multilateral Banks and Non-Governmental Organisations. From such documents and as a result of discussion, the Parties have agreed that three main areas of immediate needs must be given our full and unimpeded attention.

The Committee has as yet not been able to study the available documents collectively in detail. In a situation such as this there are – quite naturally - bound to be differences in background data and interpretation. The Committee has in this appeal concentrated on a conservative presentation of the situation and needs – which is more than adequate to describe, in stark reality, the challenges ahead.


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