The long suffering of Tamils in Sri Lanka

[ LE MONDE ] - [ Oct 13, 2009 19:57 GMT ]

Refugee in Paris this summer, Sriramanan Ratnasingam A former head of the secretariat of the north-west for Human Rights (Nesohr) at Sri Lanka Is not a witness as others in the war between the Colombo government and the separatist rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Wounded by shrapnel when he was brought in April, on the forehead with an ambulance and a camera, he proposes, we are receiving, to show his wounds, traces of the conflict that has seen, on may , the defeat of the LTTE after thirty years of fighting.

It also offers on the situation of the country a new vision, that escapes both the government propaganda that the LTTE, on the serious obstacles still facing Sri Lanka. The government's military victory over the LTTE has in fact not ended the conflict. He said the country remains under siege. The military remains pervasive and freedoms are repressed by a militaristic and autocratic regime.

"My 12 year old daughter died in late April because of phosphorus bombs that the military in Colombo said they had never used while we were evacuated to Vavuniya (north), says he, and one of my son, age 7, was evacuated to a hospital ship in the Red Cross after being hit by shrapnel ". The death of his daughter and the intervention of a relationship to the Vavuniya town hall will allow it to avoid filtration camps where the army holds the hunt for ex-members of the LTTE among the displaced. "In these transit camps, they put women and men in long lines separated and forced to strip off in front of everyone and they keep for weeks for questioning."

Precarious living conditions

Six months after the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, who host the camps in Vavuniya nearly 300 000 displaced Tamils in the fighting, were not emptied. Their living conditions are precarious as NGOs denounce the restrictions imposed on their work by the military.

In late September, the camp guards Manik Farm At Vavunyia, opened fire on a group of displaced persons who wished to join their families on a nearby site. The 7 and 9 October, about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in these camps, Great Britain and the United States has again called for the government in Colombo "guarantee the free movement of displaced persons".

To bury his daughter, as to leave Vavuniya with the rest of his family, Sriramanan Ratnasingam had to pay the government soldiers. "To reach Colombo, people paid 80 000 rupees each dam and for the papers, my mother, who lives in Germany, had to pay between 5 000 and 6 000 Euros ."

If his organization Nesohr, born in 2004 after the signing of the peace process initiated in 2002 by Norwegians between the LTTE and Colombo, would theoretically bring the voice of the Tamil population, its relationship with the Tigers were not simple. "I am a Tamil but I also had problems with them, he says , we encountered in LTTE recruitment of children and the conditions of detention of prisoners and we tried to fight against the extortion of the Tamil people. "

UNICEF, with whom he worked to remove children from the ranks of the LTTE, in turn, help his family to leave the country after him. "The authorities could have taken hostage my children and my wife make me pay for my flight".