In the face of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and in response to the calls made by the UN, EU, the governments of the US, India and others, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has announced a unilateral ceasefire.
‘All of the LTTE’s offensive military operations will cease with immediate effect’, it said yesterday.
A LTTE statement said: ‘The suffering inflicted on our people by the Sri Lankan armed forces in violation of all international humanitarian laws has now reached its peak.
‘Over 165,000 people living within the coastal area under our control in Mullaitivu are being subject to continuous attacks by Sri Lankan Navy, Air Force and Infantry. Death and destruction continues unabated.
‘This has been made worse by the deliberate withholding of food and medicine over many months. Deaths due to starvation are imminent.
‘Those who were moved out of the war zone have been detained and are being held in concentration camps where they are subjected to torture in violation of all international conventions.
‘This population of Internally Displaced People (IDP) is not permitted to return to their homes. Instead, some are being used as human shields by the Sri Lankan forces.
‘We welcome the attempts by the UN and its agencies to assist the civilian population and are ready to engage and cooperate with them to address the humanitarian needs of the population.
‘We have taken into account the recent declarations by the G8 nations, the White House, Indian Ministers and the EU and other members of the international community.
‘We are in full agreement that the humanitarian crisis can only be overcome by declaration of an immediate ceasefire.
‘As the first step we have now announced this unilateral ceasefire and call upon the international community to pressure the Sri Lankan Government to reciprocate it.
‘We are of the view that only such a ceasefire can end the humanitarian crisis and help avert the long term impact of this crisis on the region and on the peoples of the island.’
l Meanwhile in London, student Parameswaran Subramaniyan continued his hunger strike undeterred for the 21st day.
He said: ‘I will be happy to lay down my life for the sake of the Tamil people.’