Acute Food Shortages In Jaffna!


TamilNet reports that residents of Jaffna peninsula are experiencing an acute shortage of essential food commodities including wheat flour and sugar, sources in Jaffna said.

Jaffna Government Agent (GA), in a press release Tuesday night, said that arrangements are being made to get down wheat flour from Trincomalee and sugar from Colombo.

The multi-purpose Co-operative societies, which receive the essential food commodities through the GA from the Commissioner of Essential Food items, have to pay back arrears of around 117 million rupees to Jaffna Secretariat and this has caused the shortage, the GA said.

Meanwhile, Jaffna Multi-purpose Co-operative society alone has to pay 70 million rupees due to alleged misappropriation by P. Kiritharan, the Advisor to Jaffna Municipal Council, appointed by Janaka Perara, Commissioner of Local Councils, civil society sources in Jaffna said.

Kiritharan is said to be the SLFP, EPDP coalition candidate for Jaffna Municipal Council election which is expected to take place soon, the sources added.

Since August 2000 essential food commodities to the value of 721 million rupees have been supplied to the co-operatives societies and 117 million rupees of this amount remains as arrears of payment, the sources added.

Meanwhile, pointing out the twelfth operative paragraph of the Draft Resolution sponsored by Switzerland, that is currently pending before the UN Human Rights Council, Professor Boyle, expert in International Law and Professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, has condemend it as ‘the continuation of the international whitewash’.

The twelfth operative paragraph says, ‘12. The Council stresses the importance of combating impunity and calls on the government of Sri Lanka to investigate all allegations and bring to justice, in accordance with international standards, perpetrators of violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law, including hostage taking, torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and to increase its efforts to further prevent such violations. . .’

Boyle said: ‘I am not going to waste my time here going through the hypocrisy and sophistry of the Draft Resolution sponsored by Switzerland that is currently pending before the UN Human Rights Council with the support of 25 other UN Member States.

‘For operative paragraph 12 of the Swiss Resolution gives their entire Public Relations game away.

‘It calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to investigate and prosecute itself for war crimes and crimes against humanity, “including hostage taking, torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions”.

‘It would be as if the U.N. Human Rights Council had invited the Nazi government to investigate and prosecute itself for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Jews instead of supporting the Nuremberg Charter and Tribunal.

‘So in other words the Swiss Resolution is basically a continuation of the international whitewash and cover-up of the GOSL’s (government of Sri Lanka) genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Tamils,’ Professor Boyle said.

He added that ‘the glaring hypocrisy and blatant sophistry of the Swiss Resolution is heightened by the fact that Switzerland is the Depositary for the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Two Additional Protocols of 1977 and therefore bears a special obligation under international law to promote, guarantee and ensure their effective enforcement rather than their negation and nullification, which this Swiss Resolution will do.

‘Obviously, Switzerland knows exactly what it is doing. The same is true for the 25 other state Co-Sponsors of the Swiss Resolution.

‘Instead of this meaningless and hypocritical and unprincipled Swiss Resolution, the UN Human Rights Council must establish an International Commission of Investigation to inquire into whether the GOSL has inflicted genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Tamils.

‘Otherwise the UN Human Rights Council and its member states will simply and knowingly become part of the GOSL’s propaganda campaign and cover-up against the Tamils.

‘If adopted, history shall record for all time their cruel crocodile tears shed for the Tamils in this infamous Swiss Resolution,’ Boyle warned.

l Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Mullaiththeevu district parliamentarian Mr. Sathasivam Kanagaretnam, escorted by police officers of the Crime Intelligence Unit Saturday afternoon, paid his last respects to departed fellow parliamentarian Mr. Kanagasabai Pathmanathan who passed away in Mathurai in Tamil Nadu. Mr. Kanagaretnam was dressed in sarong and an old shirt, sources in Colombo said.

Mr. Kanagaretnam was trapped in Vanni region for about eight months and later sought refuge in Oamanththai along with displaced people.

Now Mr.Kanagaretnam is being detained by the Crime Intelligence Unit in Colombo, sources said.

Mr Kanagararetnam was in an emaciated physical condition, and was first difficult to recognize it was him, said fellow TNA parliamentarians present at the funeral parlour in Colombo.

Mr. Kanagaretnam was allowed only about fifteen minutes at the funeral parlour and later taken to the CID office by the police officials.

l ‘The conditions prevailing in Jaffna peninsula do not encourage new investments or fresh business ventures,’ Jaffna Traders’ Union (JTU) representatives told the delegation from Colombo Chamber of Commerce that paid a visit to Jaffna Tuesday, sources in Jaffna said.

Though much publicity was given by the government about the A9 land route being opened so far it has not been made available to the public while transport through this route is yet to prove successful, JTU representatives said.

Another impediment looming is the state of affairs in the electricity supply which is feared to stall completely, they added.

Malwatta, Tissa Ruberu and Ajith Watthuhewa met the representatives of the Committee for Peace and Goodwill Tuesday afternoon at the Bishop’s House in Jaffna.

Later in the evening the delegation met the representatives of JTU.

As the government is actively engaged in maintaining that all is well in Jaffna peninsula which is caught in an atmosphere of war, these businessmen from Colombo are trying to exploit the trade resources and opportunities in Jaffna peninsula, a JTU representative said.