HAF Concerned about Attacks on Sri Lankan Civilians

Washington, D.C. (February 27, 2009):  The Hindu American Foundation (HAF), a leading advocacy and human rights organization, expressed concern today over mounting reports that the ethnic Tamil community in Sri Lanka is the victim of indiscrimate violence.  Tamil civilians, including women and children, are daily victims of Sri Lankan government reprisals, even as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continue to use civilians as human shields in this lastest chapter of the 30 year Sri Lankan civil war.
 
For years the Sri Lankan government has barred access in the war region to humanitarian aid, food convoys, medical supplies, journalists and other international observers.  As the Sri Lankan military has scored important victories recently, they have increasingly attacked civilians. Sri Lankan military actions have met with international outrage - in India this week 300,000 formed a human chain in a peaceful protest, demanding India stop aiding the brutal violence.  Sri Lanka's government, which pulled out of a Norwegian-brokered truce a year ago, has so far rejected a new ceasefire, vowing instead to crush the LTTE.
 
HAF has repeatedly condemned what it considers a disproportionate Sri Lankan response on the civilian ethnic Tamil population in its annual Hindu human rights report.  The Foundation condemns attacks on temples and other places of worship that have been targeted in this civil war. 
                                               
"We call for the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to declare and honor an immediate ceasefire to allow full, safe and unhindered access; the evacuation of the sick and wounded; and the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian assistance to civilians," said Swaminathan Venkataraman, a member of the HAF Board of Directors.  "We believe that the conflict cannot be solved militarily without further atrocities and should be settled through a durable  political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of all the people of Sri Lanka." 
 
The Hindu American Foundation has summarized human rights issues of Hindus in Sri Lanka in the Foundation's annual human rights report which is available online or in print from the Foundation's office.