Canadian Tamil Congress

Canadian Tamil Congress

November 02, 2006 14:07 ET

A Tattered Ceasefire and State Terrorism in Sri Lanka

Canadian Tamils fearful of renewed violence amid failed peace talks

Attention: News Editor, World News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor OTTAWA,ONTARIO, MEDIA ADVISORY--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 2, 2006) - International ceasefire monitors have confirmed that a family of five was killed today when a bomb exploded near a hospital in the LTTE-controlled town of Kilnochchi. Staff from the Nordic-led Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM) is currently investigating the area to assess the damage caused by the Sri Lankan Air Force's Kfir Jet bombers, whose actions violated the government's recent assurances that it would refrain from launching any offensive military attacks.

While the Sri Lankan military claims that it was attacking legitimate military targets, LTTE military spokesman Rasiah Ilanthiraiyan accused the Sri Lankan government of deliberately targeting civilian areas and described the latest carnage as an act of "state terrorism."

The latest surge in violence follows a round of dismal peace talks that were held between LTTE representatives and Sri Lankan government officials in Geneva last weekend. The talks came to a conclusion on Sunday, with both parties leaving empty-handed. A precursor to any negotiation or concession, noted chief Tiger negotiator S.P. Thamilselvan, would be the reopening of the A-9 highway, a main artery to the north of the country. The highway's closure has caused severe food and fuel shortages for scores of Tamils in the now-isolated Jaffna peninsula.

"The LTTE position at the Geneva talks was pretty simple," noted David Poopalapillai, a spokesperson for The Canadian Tamil Congress. "How could any LTTE representative discuss peace with a government whose torturous tactics were starving their people in Jaffna at that very moment?

"That's a huge disparity in bargaining positions," added Poopalapillai. "One party to the conflict is demanding concessions and paying lip service to supposed ceasefires while the other is pleading for simple access to food and medical supplies for its people. The international community must recognize the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka and go beyond accusatory finger pointing. Decisive action needs to be taken in order to prevent the daily brutality that the Sri Lankan government seems to cultivate."

Kidnappings, murder, and aerial bombardments have become the daily norm in Sri Lanka, where nearly 70,000 people have perished in over two decades of open conflict. A hallowed spectre of the 2002 ceasefire remains, it appears, only in name.

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