The Lanka Academic

 
FEBRUARY 1, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 6, NO. 301

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Human rights violations plague five tsunami-hit countries, report says
Associated Press, Wed February 1, 2006 16:01 EST . ROBIN HINDERY

Associated Press Writer

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ More than a year after the tsunami in Southeast Asia, many of the most vulnerable survivors are plagued by discrimination in aid distribution, forced relocation and violence against women, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report, by three international nonprofit groups, documented conditions in five countries devastated by the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami.

Within the countries _Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives_ some of the most vulnerable groups are women, children and ethnic minorities, the report said. Those in poor neighborhoods consistently bear the largest burden, it said.

``Nature treated (the citizens of these countries) equally, but their governments are not treating them equally,'' said Ramesh Singh, chief executive of ActionAid International, one of the groups that compiled the report.

About 215,000 people died in the tsunami and millions of others in the region lost their homes, health care and livelihood.

Field research involving more than 50,000 survivors found widespread instances of land grabbing to serve commercial interests, shoddy construction in government-sponsored housing projects, uneven distribution of aid packages among devastated industries, and a host of other violations, the report said.

Women also continue to suffer because of their gender, the report said.

In relief camps and shelters in Sri Lanka, for example, men control access to sanitary napkins and underwear, and harassment prevents many women from asking for the items they need, said Judy Devadason, a Sri Lankan women's rights activist. She said none of the camps she has visited in the country offered any sort of reproductive care.

The tsunami prompted an outpouring of international support that broke previous donation records among groups such as the American Red Cross.

``This report shows that there has been a breach of trust _the trust offered by these supporters in the names of the people who suffered and survived the tsunami,'' Singh said.

ActionAid and the other two sponsors of the report, the People's Movement for Human Rights Learning and Habitat International Coalition, said the document was meant less as a criticism than as a cautionary tale and a call for the governments in question and the international community to right the wrongs committed in the tsunami response.

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Published: Wed Feb 1 23:31:41 EST 2006


Two abducted aid workers return, eight missing amid threats to Sri Lanka's peace bid
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, February 1st, 2006, 8:00 pm. Two aid workers allegedly kidnapped by unidentified gunmen returned Wednesday, but eight other remained missing amid threats by Tamil Tiger rebels to pull out of peace talks with the Sri Lankan government.

The guerrillas accused para-military forces supported by the Sri Lankan army of kidnapping 10 aid workers of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization or TRO, and said the abductions made it "difficult to resume talks," with the government expected to take place in Geneva, later this month.

The TRO is a registered charity in Sri Lanka, believed to have strong links to the Tigers.

"There has been some miscommunication. The two girls had returned home Monday, but were afraid to report anything due to threats to their lives from the abductors," said Arjunan Ethirveerasingam, of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization. "We still haven't head anything from the others," he said, about the eight other aid workers who remained missing.

He said it wasn't immediately known if the two female workers had been released or had escaped, adding that they were being questioned.

The two separate alleged abductions had taken place on Sunday and Monday close to the Welikanda army check point in restive eastern Batticaloa, about 150 kilometers from the capital Colombo, Ethiriveerasingham said.

The government and the military refuted the charge. "The government categorically denies any such incident taking place in close proximity to the Walikanda checkpoint," the governments said in a statement.

"This is a fabricated story against the security forces," said Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe, military spokesman. He said the location the TRO alleges the abductions took place was a populated area and someone would have witnessed the incident, which however was not the case.

However, the alleged incidents that raised international concern, also worried the government about its effect on proposed talks with the Tigers. Some speculated meanwhile, that the alleged abductions were aimed at whipping up international sentiment against the government and for the Tigers to squeeze out of the Geneva talks.

The Tigers' threat on Tuesday came barely a week after Norway's top peace envoy Erik Solheim broke an almost three year deadlock to resume stalled peace talks between the government and the guerrillas amid fears that the island was on the brink of war.

The Tigers have been fighting for a separate state since 1983 for the island's ethnic Tamil minority, claiming discrimination by the Sinhalese majority. Nearly 65,000 people were killed before Norway brokered a truce in February 2002. Subsequent peace talks broke down a year later amid rebel demands for wide autonomy in the Tamil-majority north and east.

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Published: Wed Feb 1 11:54:39 EST 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
·
Tiger allegations bogus - Govt  - bbc
·
Two kidnapped aid workers resurface in Sri Lanka  - alertnet.org

Douglas loses heavyweight
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, February 1, 2006, 10.51 p.m.. In what appeared to be one of the most surprising splits, K. Vigneswaran, a former parliamentarian and advisor to Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) Leader Douglas Devananda has resigned from the party owing to the 'authoritative and dictatorial attitude' adopted by the EPDP leader.

Dr. Vigneswaran who was with the EPDP for more than ten years was also Devananda's chief advisor and main negotiator of the EPDP when the draft constitution was being drawn up, and obviously Vigneswaran's resignation is a huge blow 'resource' wise to the EPDP leader, sources pointed out.

Dr. Vigneswaran, confirming his resignation from the party due to irreconcilable differences, pointed out that, "I have left the party because I couldn't work with the leader's style of functioning, as there was no democracy within the party, due to the authoritative attitude adopted by Mr. Devananda," he noted.

He however assured that although he had resigned from the EPDP, his career in politics will continue.

A total of 11 former EPDP parliamentarians have left the party since 1994 to date, owing to the alleged dictatorial attitude of Mr. Devananda

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Published: Wed Feb 1 11:52:50 EST 2006 Back to the top


Tamil Tiger rebels threaten to pull out of Sri Lanka peace talks as 10 aid workers go missing
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, January 31st, 2006, 11:00 pm. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels on Tuesday threatened to pull out of next months peace talks over the abduction of 10 Tamil aid workers in the island's volatile east, officials said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka in lingerie battle of the fittest
financialexpress-bd.com, 2/2/2006 . Sri Lanka wants to be a world hot spot for lingerie and make clothing its main dollar earner, but local manufacturers are feeling hemmed in a year after export quotas were lifted... Back to the top

Refugee influx from Lanka worries Jayalalithaa
hindustantimes.com, February 1. Expressing concern over increase in the influx of refugees from Sri Lanka to Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday said it showed that the situation was not conducive in the island republic... Back to the top

Tamil legislators boycott Sri Lanka Parliament
hindu.com, Feb. 1 . Colombo, Feb. 1 (PTI): Sri Lanka's main Tamil political party today staged a walk out in the national assembly to protest against "escalating" attacks against the Tamil minority. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which is seen as a proxy of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), staged the walk out after making a statement condemning security forces for attacks against Tamils and rebel supporters... Back to the top

Tamil rebel faction announces unilateral cease-fire ahead of Sri Lanka 's peace talks
Associated Press, Mon January 30, 2006 23:36 EST . A breakaway Tamil Tiger faction has offered a cease-fire to the mainstream rebels ahead of the insurgents' talks with the government, a move it hopes will help secure a permanent peace for Sri Lanka, media reports said Tuesday... Back to the top

Lessons from Lanka: How ‘hawks’ have turned to peace -Opinion
khaleejtimes.com, 1 February 2006. HE sensational victory of Hamas in last week’s election to the Palestinian legislative council has shocked the West but not the people who voted for the popular Islamic resistance movement, which exhorts all believers to fight to win back the land Israel had grabbed from the Palestinians... Back to the top

IAF chief meets Rajapakse
Hindu, February 1. COLOMBO: Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi on Tuesday met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and senior defence officials as part of his three-day official visit to the island-nation... Back to the top

Who is the indigenous Sri Lankan?
hindustantimes.com, January 30, 2006. One of the most contentious issues in the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka is the question of indigenousness... Back to the top

Violence ebbs in Sri Lanka but tensions still persist – UN ...
un.org, January 30, 2006 - 08:25 EDT. 31 January 2006 – Violence in Sri Lanka has ebbed since the Government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) last week agreed to hold new talks, but scores of people continue leaving the southern part of the country for India, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) reported today... Back to the top

Sri Lanka truce may collapse: Study
hindustantimes.com, New Delhi, January 31, 2006|11:26 IST. Sri Lanka's ceasefire between the Tamil Tiger guerrillas and the government can collapse and trigger renewed fighting, a path-breaking international study on the peace process has cautioned... Back to the top

Sri Lanka: resumption of talks
reliefweb.int, January 31, 2006 - 08:25 EDT. This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 31 January 2006, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva... Back to the top

SA beat Sri Lanka by five wickets
businessday.co.za, January 31, 2006 - 11:45 EDT. SYDNEY - SA skipper Graeme Smith ended his prolonged slump in form with a strong all-round performance to lead his team to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in a one-day international at the WACA in Perth today... Back to the top

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