"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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INDICTMENT AGAINST SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka's Undeclared War on Eelam Tamils
...in the Shadow of a Ceasefire

  • 38,000 Tamils face starvation in Vaharai, humanitarian disaster imminent - Sampanthan
    [TamilNet, Sunday, 19 November 2006, 12:00 GMT]

Tamil Child in the Vanni
 "...Under human rights law, there is a recognised right to adequate and available food...... whatever the full contours and permeations of the right to food might be, it is clear that it constitutes a violation of the human rights law to deny adequate food to a given population. Moreover, it would be especially unlawful and egregious to deny the right to adequate food as government tactic to control certain persons or as a weapon of war. The most egregious violations include denials of food and medicine or medical supplies, especially for children.… If food is likely to be used by both the general population and enemy combatants, the destruction or denial of food, in circumstances where one can reasonably foresee that the general population will suffer, will necessarily involve the indiscriminate use of food as a weapon. [these] denials also violate related prohibitions under the laws of war, and constitute serious war crimes... Fear of food falling into the hands of enemy combatants is not an excuse for denying food to the civilians... It is time for the international community to recognise that, in addition to medicine and medical supplies, food should always be treated as neutral property during an armed conflict. Because of highly predictable consequences, both short term and long term, food should never be used as a weapon of war. .."  Professor Jordan J. Paust, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, May ’98

Tamil National Alliance Parliamentary Group leader and MP for Trincomalee District, R. Sampanthan, in an urgent letter to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, Sunday, requested again the SL President that food, medicine and other essentials be urgently rushed to the people of Vakarai and Kathiraveli and urged Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse to intervene personally and take every necessary step to ensure that this is done. 8,500 families from the villages of Trincomalee district, internally displaced to Vakarai and Kathiraveli in addition to 3,500 families of the area are facing malnutrition, disease and starvation. "A grave humanitarian disaster is imminent," Mr. Sampanthan said.

20 November 2006

His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapakse,
President, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,
Presidential Secretariat,
Colombo.

Your Excellency,

STARVATION OF 12,000 TAMIL FAMILIES IN THE VAKARAI AND KATHIRAVELLI AREAS IN NORTH BATTICALOA DISTRICT

When we met you on the 16th of November 2006 together with your Secretary and Principal Advisor, we raised with you the plight of the 12,000 Tamil families in the above areas who had not been supplied with food, medicine or other essentials for almost three weeks, and who were consequently undergoing much human suffering. Your Principal Advisor clearly told us that Vakarai and Kathiravelli would receive supplies by that evening, the 16th of November 2006. We were greatly relieved.

On the 17th of November, ten lorry loads of food were sent from the Batticaloa Kachcheri to Vakarai and Kathiravelli, along with the Divisional Secretary of the area. The lorries were stopped at Navalladdy – Cobra Bridge – some kilometers south of Maankerni Army checkpoint by the Armed Forces, and directed to return. One Brigadier Ratnayaka had later telephoned the Government Agent and told him that no more lorries should be sent to Vakarai and Kathiravelli areas, and that steps should be taken to evacuate the people living in the said areas.

We raised this matter in Parliament on the 18th of November 2006. Hon. Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, who intervened on behalf of the Government having spoken to the Defence Secretary and others in the military establishment, gave an assurance in Parliament that eight lorry loads with food would go to Vakarai and Kathiravelli on that very day the 18th. Accordingly eight lorries left the Batticaloa Kachcheri, with the Additional Government Agent, the Divisional Secretary and Assistant Divisional Secretary. They were stopped at the Maankerni checkpoint and could not proceed further. They were directed to return to Batticaloa.

No food has been sent to Vakarai and Kathiravelli after the 27th of October 2006, on which date a meagre supply sufficient only for a limited number of people was sent. An adequate supply was last sent on the 20th of October.

You will thus appreciate that for a period of over three weeks, no food, medicine or other essentials has been sent to the people in these areas.

These 12,000 Tamil families comprise of around 38,000 persons – men, women and children. Of these families around 3,500 families are permanent residents of Vakarai and Kathiravelli, and the other 8,500 families are internally displaced people from the villages in the south, southeast and southwest of the adjoining Trincomalee District.

These persons are facing malnutrition, disease and starvation. A grave humanitarian disaster is imminent.

I have to request that food, medicine and other essentials be urgently rushed to the people of Vakarai and Kathiravelli, and that you kindly intervene personally and take every necessary step to ensure that this is done.

Yours sincerely,

R. SAMPANTHAN
TNA Parliamentary Group Leader & MP for Trincomalee District
 

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