ERC Statement on Humanitarian Crisis in Sri Lanka - Urgent need for independent reporting

Our only concern is for the peace of all the people of Sri Lanka: Sinhalese, Tamil, Burger, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian. 

At present the world lacks accurate independent and reliable information about what is happening in the north of the country. Unlike when the devastating tsunami hit Sri Lanka aid agencies and the international media have yet to allowed access to the region. A war, such as the one Sri Lankans have endured for three decades, is no less a disaster for the people who are innocently caught up in its prosecution and aftermath. 

Of particular concern at present is the situation regarding the people in the camps in the north who are unable to return to their towns and villages. The end of the military conflict has not resulted in an end to their suffering

Multilateral agencies and NGO’s with the expertise to deliver aid to people caught up in crisis situations need to be given access to the camps to assist people directly. 

There is an urgent need for independent and accurate reporting on the reality in the camps, and on the transparent distribution of emergency assistance. Reliable international media agencies need to be given access immediately.

In Northern Ireland, Serbia and the Middle East, unilateral military declarations of victory have not delivered long-lasting peace. Only when the parties to the war determined to engage in dialogue could lasting progress be made. The absence of war in Sri Lanka does not mean peace. 

In the same way that Sri Lanka allowed the international community to provide expertise and assistance following the devastation of the tsunami, we would urge the Sri Lankan Government to allow the international community to support recovery through the agencies of the United Nations, multilateral agencies and NGO’s, and to allow reliable international media to report it to a waiting world eager for the truth to be told. 

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