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Sri Lanka: CHA Press Release on Muttur

August 8, 2006

Fifteen national colleagues remain face down, dead, their bodies unclaimed and inaccessible for funeral rights to be performed in a shattered town of Muttur...A child spent the night from crying terrified from 1am at the sound and vibration caused by outgoing rockets. Thousands of inhabitants of Muttur are forcibly displaced, dead or cowering in fear, hungry seeking protection and normalcy. The total number of persons from many northern and eastern districts fleeing as refugees to India has surpassed the total number of persons who voluntarily returned to rebuild their lives from India since the CFA of February of 2002. Our drivers are being threatened with arrest for not possessing non existent permits to travel, contravening provisions of the CFA and attempting to curb humanitarian work. These are a few examples of our failure to live up to our promises to give peace and life to many who are affected by fighting and conflict in the country.

It is callous mistake to treat displacement as natural or to assist those displaced to remain as such. For too long we have perpetuated conflict and reduced citizens to beggars, stripped of their dignity. We have watched life extinguished. We permitted promises to be broken with calamitous consequences to those who sought relief.

It is time we arrested this drift of unconscious failure to protect and preserve life of all our citizens. We cannot and do not glorify death, either in battle or in everyday life. We stand for the sanctity of life from which all other rights flow.

We seek justice and accountability for the murders of our colleagues, and the further deaths reported in Muttur and seek a commitment from the Government and LTTE to respect humanitarian action, access and protection as prescribed by the CFA.