Saturday, April 18, 2009

Open Letter to Mr. Richard Boucher

April 17th, 2009

Richard Boucher
Assistant Secretary Bureau of South & Central Asian Affairs
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Sir,

We are writing as members of Sri Lankans for Peace, a US-based organization which was formed to coordinate the work of the Sri Lankan diaspora in America to advance the cause of justice in Sri Lanka.

We read the press release from your office regarding your meeting, along with Ambassador Bake, with members of the American Tamil community. We were heartened to learn that you share our own interest in the humanitarian efforts being undertaken within Sri Lanka and our concern for the plight of civilians still trapped in the 20 square mile no-fire zone established by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL), and which is currently occupied by the LTTE.

We were very disturbed, therefore, by the hard stance taken by the US state department in the statement issued on 16th April 2009 on Sri Lanka, that called for an immediate cessation to the rescue operations conducted by the SL Army. It is puzzling as to why the US State Department believes that the LTTE will allow the civilians to move out of the safe zone if the Government halts operations. It was clear during the 48 hour ceasefire that there was a remarkable drop in the number of civilians who could flee the no-fire zone. This is a fact verified in a statement issued by John Holmes, the United Nations’ Emergency Relief Coordinator in Sri Lanka, and included in today’s report in the NYT. It has also been discovered that the LTTE subjected civilians to immense hardships by forcing them to build military fortifications during this ceasefire.

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