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Carter, Tutu: continued detention, clear violation of international law

[TamilNet, Saturday, 28 November 2009 11:30 No Comment]

A group of eminent global leaders, whose members include former US President, Jimmy Carter, and South African Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, has written to Sri Lanka’s President Rajapaksa to say they are “deeply worried” about the humanitarian situation faced by the largely Tamil civilian population who fled fighting in the north of the country, and warn that this could squander hopes for national reconciliation. The leaders add that the continued confinement of approximately 135, 000 internally displaced people is a “clear violation of international law” and that these people are being denied basic human rights, including the right to liberty and freedom of movement.

Chair of the group Archbishop Desmond Tutu, signed the letter on behalf of his fellow Elders, Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Brundtland, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Graça Machel and Mary Robinson, "The Elders" website said.

The Group said they also "relayed their serious concerns about the way in which the Sri Lankan government is attempting to meet its resettlement objectives," and added that they are "particularly concerned that the UNHCR, the International Committee of the Red Cross and national and international NGOs have had too limited a role in monitoring the movement of people, and have not had access to all the areas where people have been returned.

"Equally worrying are reports that some of those released have been placed in new, closed camps in their district of origin by local authorities. Some are reported to be facing further screening to determine whether they have any links to the LTTE," Tutu’s letter said.

"Sri Lanka needs wise, far-sighted and determined leadership to help end the divisions of the past and achieve genuine reconciliation, peace and dignity, to the benefit of all of Sri Lanka’s people," Archbishop Tutu said.

[Full Coverage]

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