09 January 2009
Describing several recent escalation in incidents where Sri Lanka Armed Forces have targetted Tamil civilian during festive days between Christmas and Thaipongal, Tamil National Alliance (TNA), in a press release issued Sunday, said that the "stringent economic, food and medical embargos on the war affected areas, ... are not only War Crimes in contravention of the Geneva Conventions but are also a part of a policy of Genocide that the Sri Lankan State has been carrying out against the Tamil people."
The release, issued by the Parliamentary Group of the TNA, also noted, with disappointment, the silence of the international community "whilst the Genocide of the Tamil people is taking place," and continuing military assistance of the international states to the Sri Lankan State "using various pretexts."
Full text of the press release follows:
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) notes the deliberate and systematic targeting of Tamil civilians and civilian infrastructure, particularly hospitals, in the LTTE administered areas by the Sri Lanka Armed Forces. The escalation in such targeting has taken place during the current Christmas/New year/Thai Pongal festive season, when civilian activity is at a high. Such targeted attacks have included the following:
· On Wednesday, 17 December 2008 a 5-month-old child and a 25-year-old male were killed and 13 other refugees including three children were wounded when Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) jets bombed refugee settlements in Vaddakkachchi four times.
· On Friday, 19 December 2008, the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) bombers attacked civilian settlements in Mullivaikaal village in the morning and at noon causing injuries to 11 civilians, including 6 children. On the same day the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) had also fired artillery shells on the Mullaitivu General Hospital injuring two members of the medical staff and causing extensive damage to the hospital complex.
· On Saturday, 20 December 2008 the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) shelling killed 2 civilians in Vaddakkachchi in Kilinochchi. From morning the SLA artillery fire had targeted civilian settlements in Vaddakkachchi and Kilinochchi destroying several houses. On the same day the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) bombers had also attacked a coastal area in Mullaitivu where thousands of recently displaced civilians had established temporary shelters. The bombers dropped eight bombs on fishing huts and boats.
· On Thursday, 25 December 2008, Christmas Day, the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) fired artillery shells targeting the Kilinochchi General Hospital causing damage to the hospital buildings and narrowly missing several hospital staff, including the Medical Superintendent of Kilinochchi.
· On Saturday, 27 December 2008 the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) jets bombed the Iyakkachchi, Iranamadu and Vaddakkachchi areas targeting three civilian settlements killing a 24-year-old woman and seriously injuring ten persons, including an 18-year-old girl who lost both her legs.
· On Tuesday, 30 December 2008, the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) fired artillery shells hitting the Kilinochchi hospital causing damage to the building.
· On Wednesday, 31 December 2008 Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) bombers attacked a civilian settlement in Murasumoaddai on Paranthan - Mullaitivu Road killing two females of a family and a male on the spot. Another man, who was seriously wounded, succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. 16 civilians, including a couple, were wounded. The Sri Lanka Armed Forces also targeted fleeing civilians, Internally Displaced Person's huts in Karaichchi, a school, temple and agricultural lands on the same day.
· On Thursday, 01 January 2009, New Years Day, the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) bombers again attacked Murasumoaddai on Paranthan-Mullaitivu Road thrice and bombed the next junction at Kandaavalai, while hundreds of civilians were fleeing due to the previous day attacks at Murasumoaddai. Two civilians, a 60-year-old mother and a 20-year-old male were injured in the attack on the densely populated junction. Three shops were fully destroyed and six shops damaged.
· On Friday, 02 January 2009 two persons who accompanied a convoy of ambulances from Puthukkudiruppu to Vavuniya were wounded when Sri Lanka Army (SLA) fired artillery shells at Mannaakandal. The two ambulances with 13 civilians with serious injuries, being transferred from Tharmapuram and Puthukkudiyiruppu hospitals to Vavuniya hospital, were targeted after clearance had been obtained through the ICRC. On the same day Artillery shelling by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) killed a civilian and wounded at least 10 civilians at 3rd Mile Post in Murasumoaddai. Another civilian was wounded at Pannangkandi due to SLA shelling. The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) bombers also attacked a petrol station and a bus depot killing four civilians and causing injuries to 8 close to Mullaitivu hospital. 8 buses were destroyed and the depot building was damaged and the petrol station completely destroyed.
· On Saturday, 03 January 2009 Sri Lanka Army (SLA) shelling continued to target densely populated civilian area in Puliaympokkanai in Vanni where a 61-year-old civilian was wounded when at least 6 shells hit the settlement.
· The abovementioned targeting of Tamil civilians and civilian infrastructure by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces is taking place whilst over 330,000 Tamil civilians are internally displaced in the Vanni. The Sri Lankan State has also imposed stringent economic, food and medical embargos on the war affected areas in the Vanni where there is a total population of nearly 500,000.
These measures that collectively target the Tamil population cannot be justified under any circumstances. They are not only War Crimes in contravention of the Geneva Conventions but are also a part of a policy of Genocide that the Sri Lankan State has been carrying out against the Tamil people.
The TNA notes with disappointment that the international community has not only been, by and large, silent whilst the Genocide of the Tamil people is taking place, but also that key international States are continuing to provide military assistance to the Sri Lankan State using various pretexts.
It is whilst these crimes are taking place in the Tamil Homeland that the Sinhala political parties and the Sri Lankan State have been celebrating what they consider to be military successes. It is this approach of subjugation of the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan State that is at the root of the conflict. There can be little doubt that the continued desire to subjugate the Tamil people without addressing the long held legitimate political aspiration of the Tamil people, as overwhelmingly mandated at the 1977 General Elections to the TULF and thereafter to the TNA, will not produce any positive results. These events only further demonstrate the complete polarization between the Sinhalese and the Tamil peoples in the island.
The aforementioned are a reminder to the 70 million strong world Tamil population that the success of the Tamil peoples struggle to live as a free people with dignity on this island depends on our unity, strength and determination.
Tamil National Alliance