“When evil-doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out ‘stop!’
When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible.
When sufferings become unendurable the cries are no longer heard.
The cries, too, fall like rain in summer”.
This blog is written by a volunteer who works with the Campaign.
I’ve read a plethora of reports (Amnesty International , International Crisis Group, Human Rights Watch, Reporters without Borders), statements from The Elders, the EU report explaining why the GSP+ preferential trading status was withdrawn, the good/bad/indifferent articles in the citizen journalism sites (as most other journalism has been silenced)…
And yet the power of these 2 emails below, “ping-ing” into my inbox from miles away, bring a lump to my throat. They are not saying anything I haven’t heard from other sources. And yet these personal heartfelt laments, one from a nun one who has dedicated her life to service and has nothing to gain, compels me to be more than be a bystander. But how do I reply to her?
“I visit the camps and also help IDPs in Vavuniya many of whom are widows. The orphanages are trying to cope. More children cannot be accommodated as there are no place, as all the buildings are destroyed and need repair. Father X intends taking more orphan children of the war.
The situation for the people in the camp and in Vanni is beyond description. In Vanni they are given a few tin sheets and they are living in the open exposed to the cold and heat. No income facilities. They have lost everything and have gone with bare-hands. The house of the people which are occupied by the forces will be returned to people only if they pay money for their own house. This is the situation of their living condition. You would have heard about the rape in Visvamadhu where 2 women were raped by 6 armed forces. One has died. Liquor shops are established near the schools in Vanni and all the shops in Vanni are owned by soldiers and Sinhalese. There a few thousands container houses (ready made) lying along A9 road which are not given to the people. It seems they are for the soldiers and their families. Already plans are there for Sinhala colonization in these areas under the cover of resettlement.
People in the camp are given only rice and sugar. They sell the rice in order to buy other things. NGOs and others are not permitted to help in the camps as earlier. So the plight of those in the camps are terrible. No water, sanitation facilities either. They are languishing in the camp with no future or hope. Many hundreds of the youth who have been under custody have been taken to the South to places where they do not have their culture or language. What will become of them we will have to wait and see.
Last week you would have heard about a 31 old year Family health worker – a hospital staff in Velanai Hospital was hanged in the hospital and the culprit has been a Sinhala doctor and the judge judge has asked to remand him. Daily protests are up against this killing and for justice to be done. Sinhala doctors and nurses are playing with the lives of the patients too without knowing the language. Daily Sinhalese are on picnic to the north with finance given by the government while the IDPs starve and die in the jungle without proper shelter, clothing and food. They are exposed to the heat and cold and rape by the forces around them in thousands. The Sinhalese who come on picnic purchase things here by raising the prices and the people here and the IDPs are made to look at the sky and wait. Sinhala colonization and culture is rising high with houses provided for them while the IDPs lie in the open in the jungle.
Today’s paper editorial is shocking. Mahinda had a meeting in Kilinochchi all eye wash.The promises are far from what is happening and his promises are all humbug. Minister Hehaliya Rambukela has said the High security zones will never be removed, rather many more houses and lands of the IDPs in Kilinochchi will be absorbed for defence purpose if needed. This means the IDPs who has love lost have of their home place will be deprived even further and will be pushed into the jungle. They are going to put up more permanent military camps in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. The plan is already on the way and with that Sinhala colonization will take place, settling the forces and their families and relatives. While the IDPs will linger exposed to the heat and cold, with no basic essentials, no education, no health, no employment facilities. When you read the daily paper it is shocking. There is no news of the missing youth who were brought up to Omanthai including Fr. Francis Joseph who was seen at Omanthai. Parents are daily walking the streets and looking for their children who came with them up to Omanthai.
The IDPs who have been taken to Pandivirichchan, Madhu have not been given anything. They are left in the school. No tin sheet, no pole, no cash nothing. They are starving with no assistance at all. All their houses are destroyed and they cannot return to their homes either. But Mahinda is boasting of freeing the people and that they are living in peace. Far from it. They are made to become paupers. What is worse is what the minister Hahaliya Rambukela said about permanent military camps, and taking more lands and houses if needed for security and the permanent high security zones.
We only trust the God of miracle to intervene and save. Please lobby around and make international pressure for the safety and dignity of these people in this land.
Thank you and may God bless you
This is another report …
With regard to resettlement in Vanni it is a very sad story. The people are given Rs. 5000 and asked to to put up the shed on their own. Earlier they were given 12 tin sheets and 6 poles. Now the people have to get them with the money they get. They are in the open with no security. All along A9, the army has put up shops and there going to be sinhala colonization. Daily and specially during week end Vanni and Jaffna and Vavuniya is full of Sinhalese coming on picnic to explore possibilities. They have been given financial assistance by the government. There a few (some say 40 thousands) thousands ready made container house bought from China lying along A9 road supposed to be for the families of the Sinhala soldiers which is to start colonization. While the thousands of IDPs are in the open in the hot sun with no proper shelter, no water sanitation, no employment and income. There are arrack tavern near the schools in Vanni according to a daily paper an article of former judge of Jaffna.
The surrenders from Vavuniya have been taken to the South. 700 girls were taken from vavuniya last month to Nittambuwa. From there they travel daily to somewhere close to Kurunagala for work in factory. they are provided only food and nothing else said a girl from there. All their needs have to be seen by someone who goes to see them. The boys have been taken to Valikanda. The parents were asked to come to Vavuniya to go and see them. Each mother or father has to pay Rs 1000 for the bus for their journey. They must come to Vavuniya previous day stay in the lodge at 3am they are taken by bus and at 10.30 they reached met their chidlren and left at 3pm and reached Vavuniya at 8pm stayed in the lodge and went to the IDP camp next day. They boys in Welikanda are given only meals, all other needs have to be provided by their family. The boys walk daily 10 miles up and down to go to work to jungle and cut tree. Saturdays half day work after which they are taken to a river for a bath. Other days no bath. The boys in Trinco are taken to a katquary where they break stones whole day. These were reported by the parents who went to see their children in Walikanda and in Trinco.
This is the situation of rehabilitation. The mother who related this to me was in tears. She has been to see her son only once as she is living in IDP camp and has no money. In the camp they are given only rice, few grams of sugar and some coconut oil and dhal. No NGOs allowed to go into IDP camps.
In Mullaitivu planning is on the way for colonization of 12000 Sinhala family. Everywhere Buddha statue is being erected. The situation is going to worse for us in the future. Only God can help us. Keep us in your prayers