LTTE not opposed to individual right of a civilian to flee combat zone – Nadesan

[TamilNet, Thursday, 29 January 2009, 11:32 GMT]
Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) Political Head B. Nadesan said Thursday that the Tigers have been urging the UN, ICRC and other international actors through all available offices to facilitate transportation for the wounded civilians in need of medical treatment to the Vavuniyaa Hospital. Blaming that there were elements seeking to feed false reports to tarnish the image of the Tigers, Mr. Nadesan revealed that, a UN ‘security officer’ who accompanied the WFP humanitarian convoy, had attemptd to pressure the Tigers on “completely wrong moral grounds,” to organise an “exodus of the family members of the local staff of the UN,” leaving behind the remaining civilians in the ‘safety zone’ to be subjected to “genocidal attack” by the Sri Lankan military.

The ‘security officer’ was attempting to terminate the WFP humanitarian operations by attempting to evacuate the local staff of the UN, leaving behind the civilians who are in urgent need of humanitarian aid and medical assistance, Mr. Nadesan said.

“We have been very clear that any individual who wishes to leave the combat zone has an individual right to move anywhere. We have not imposed any restriction on individuals. But, we will not be organising any ‘organised exodus’ against the collective will of the people who have sought refuge away from a genocidal military,” he said.

“We are urging responsible top officials of the UN and other international agencies to immediately visit the ‘safety zone’ and to obtain the views of the civilians and make independent assessment of the needs and concerns of the civilians.”

Nadesan categorically denied reports in the press which blamed LTTE for not allowing wounded patients to be transported to Vavuniyaa.

The LTTE Political Head further said around 200 patients were being transferred to Vavuniyaa on Thursday.

“Several civilians have died without medical transport. We have been urging the ICRC, the UN and all the actors of the International Community to act urgently to provide transport to the wounded,” Mr. Nadesan told TamilNet.

“We have repeatedly called for the ICRC to voice for the rights of the civilians under the International Law and the Geneva Conventions as Colombo has been gravely violating transportation of critically wounded patients for many days, resulting in many deaths.”

“There are also civilians who are seeking to re-join their family members from other areas, who are refused free movement and transport by the Sri Lankan military.”

“We urge the concerned international actors to understand the plight of the civilians and protect their rights, concerns and safety.”

Mr. Nadesan further said that the Tigers would defend the people who do not wish to end up in the hands of the genocidal Sri Lankan military.

“The Tamil people are disappointed at the International Community’s failure to timely intervene as Colombo slaughters civilians, but the affected people have not given up their hopes on the global civilisation and its humanity, even at this critical juncture,” Nadesan said.

source : http://tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=28194

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