'Eastern Tamils losing confidence in SLMM'

[TamilNet, Thursday, 14 August 2003, 14:09 GMT]
Representatives of the Batticaloa District Non-Governmental Organizations' Consortium Thursday told the Norwegian special peace envoy, Mr. Erik Solheim, that Tamils were losing confidence in the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission as it had failed to take into account the mounting problems of the displaced Tamil people in the eastern province, NGO sources said.

Mr.V.Kamalathas, President of the Batticaloa NGOs Consortium, conveyed this in a discussion he had Thursday with Mr. Solheim, the sources said.

Mr. Solheim arrived in Batticaloa Thursday morning and held discussions with representatives of Tamil and Muslim civil society groups, the sources said.

Mr.Kamalathas told Mr. Solheim that Tamil families who fled the Meeravodai village during the 1990 violence were unable to resettle in their own lands as the Sri Lanka Army prevented them. According to the NGO sources, the NGO Consortium President reminded Mr. Solheim that, though the IDPs brought this matter to the notice of the SLMM for necessary action, the SLMM has been silent and has taken no action to resettle them in their lands.

According to the ceasefire agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, internally displaced people should be allowed to resettle in their own villages.

But neither the Sri Lankan government nor the SLMM has taken any concrete action to ensure the implementation of this condition in the agreement, or to ensure a solution to the grave problems confronting the displaced people, NGOs in the Northeast say.

Instead, they say, the SLMM has bought into the argument of the Sri Lankan government that the 'security' of its Security Forces supersedes any concern for the humanitarian needs of the people. "The SLMM is not impartial in this issue," Mr. Kamalathas charged.

Mr. Solheim later held discussions with representatives of Muslim civil society groups and the LTTE’s Batticaloa-Ampara district special commander, Mr. Ramesh, at the 'Thenaham' Guest House in Karadianaru, and left Batticaloa to Colombo at 4 p.m., sources said.


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