NGOs tell UN envoy that govt is delebrately blocking its works

Place: Mannar | Courtesy: TamilNet
| Date: 19980510

NGOs in Madhu last Wednesday told visiting UN special envoy Olara Otunnu that the Sri Lankan military was deliberately obstructing their assistance programmes, resulting in widespread malnutrition and slow deaths among people.

At the meeting, presided over by Mr. Edward (representing Mannar's government agent) and attended by many of the area's large displaced population, NGOs said Tamil children have been worst hit. According to the latest survey, infant mortality has shot to alarming levels in Tamil-inhabited areas blockaded by the Sri Lankan army. People and groups at the meeting told the UN envoy that food cultivation in these areas was being hampered by the government's ongoing fertiliser ban. The government's targeting of Tamil agricultural lands for aerial bombing and artillery shelling was also brought up. Many parents and relatives of young people recently 'disappeared' by the Sinhalese army also made pleas at the gathering. They broke down and wept in front of the UN envoy, who was visibly moved by their plight. Responding to their appeals, Mr. Otunnu said he was already aware of these matters and expressed regrets about innocent people who were drastically affected by the ongoing war. He promised to talk to Colombo's military and political leaders to reduce the misery of the Tamil people.