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Sri Lanka: Somebody Should Do Something – Scoop

[MISC, Monday, 4 May 2009 09:01 No Comment]

The call for the New Zealand Government to intervene in the ongoing Sri Lankan civil war is gaining momentum, with New Zealand Tamils staging several protests across Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.


“We have been protesting on and off for quite a few years but things got really bad at the beginning of 2009,” Tamil Youth Organisation, media spokesperson, Dhaya Haran says.


Tamil civilians, displaced by the internal war between militant organisation the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and Sri Lanka, demand New Zealand Government presses Sri Lanka for a ceasefire and pressure to “stop the ethnic cleansing of Tamils”.


“We have talked to the Government and the MPs. They did understand but they said it is hard to stop [Sri Lanka] because New Zealand is a small country,” Mr Haran says.


Last week both the Labour and the National party voiced their support for the Tamils. While the National Party asked for a ceasefire against innocent people trapped in the war zone, Labour urged the Government to take a stronger stand on the issue.


The Tamil Diaspora around the world is garnering support from local governments to support their cause. “There are series of uncoordinated protests,” Mr Haran says.


Mr Haran, who came to New Zealand with his parents under Skilled Workers category 16 years ago, says he is disappointed with the way the country’s media has covered the issue. He also says Sri Lanka has banned free media from entering it.


“Journalists are not allowed to enter Sri Lanka. They don’t get passports issued,” he says. “They have obviously got something to hide.”


About 200,000 Tamil civilians are trapped in a “so-called safe zone” within the war region.


“Sri Lanka government pushed the people to a 40-km safe zone area. In the name of targeting LTTE, they are actually killing innocent Tamils,” Mr Haran says.


United Nations estimates that this year alone, about 3000 Tamils have been killed and 10,000 injured.

The Sri Lankan Government has been fighting the LTTE for three decades. The LTTE seek to form an independent Tamil state in the north and East of Sri Lanka.


This story was syndicated by the Aotearoa Student Press Association via In Unison



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