IFT: Sri Lanka’s War Crimes

Bombings of Civilians in Vaharai and Mannar

While the international media is reporting on the punishment against the former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, for crimes against humanity, the Sri Lankan regime under President Mahinda Rajapaksa is continuing its atrocious crimes against the civilian population.

International Federation of Tamils
18 Rue des Paquis,
1201 Geneva, Switzerland
tel/Fax 00 41 22 7320 831
ift@bluewin.ch 

Press Statement
ref.J03/07/01

04th of Jan.2007

Sri Lanka’s Unabated War Crimes
Bombings of Civilians in Vaharai and Mannar  

While the international media is reporting the punishment against the former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, for crimes against humanity, the Sri Lankan regime under President Mahinda Rajapaksa is continuing its atrocious crimes against the civilian population.

On 02 Jan. 2007, four K’fir bombers of the Sri Lankan Air force attacked the coastal village of Padahuthurai in Illuppaikadavai, 24 km northwest of Mannar in the Northern part of the Island, and killed 14 civilians, including 6 children under the age of 8. Thirty-five civilians were injured and 34 houses and huts set ablaze.

The Bishop of the Mannar Diocese, Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph visited the village and, while bearing witness, has condemned the brutality of the Sri Lankan state perpetrated on unarmed civilians.

Again, On 02 Jan. 2007, in the Eastern part of the Island, K’fir jets belonging to Sri Lankan Air Force bombed the Panichchenkerny area in the Vaharai region. The local residents and the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were forced to gather around the Vaharai Government hospital for protection. The Sri Lankan Air Force has bombed Vaharai on several instances within the past 3 months, forcing civilians to flee their homes. IDP camps, hospitals, children homes and residential areas have been targeted.

Last year, Sri Lanka, under pressure to investigate into its crimes against the civilian population, appointed a commission of inquiry to probe 15 ‘selected’ crimes with international monitoring (IIGEP). The Tamil people and International human rights organizations strongly felt this local inquiry ‘ineffective’ and an effort to deflect attention. Some Western Governments, including the USA, EU, UK and Nederland, however, welcomed this initiative and appointed some eminent persons to this monitoring mission.

Today, while the investigations and monitoring of the ‘selected’ cases are yet to commence, Sri Lanka is continuing its commitment crimes with impunity.

The IFT urges those countries supporting Sri Lanka’s Commission of Inquiry, to take a firm stand against Sri Lanka’s escalation of crimes against the civilian population.

In this context, the IFT recalls its earlier appeal dated 04 Nov.2006 :

“… the International Federation of Tamils would urge the international community to recognise that turning a blind eye to the gross and consistent violations of humanitarian law by the Sinhala Sri Lanka government will not lead to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the island of Sri Lanka. History teaches that struggles for freedom have an enduring appeal. We believe that the way forward is for the international community to recognise that the struggle of the people of Tamil Eelam to be free from alien Sinhala rule is but a step in the growth of a larger unity and that the Tamil people do understand that in the end national freedom can only be secured by a voluntary pooling of sovereignties, in a regional, and ultimately in a world context ….” 

For Further Contact: ift@bluewin.ch