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Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

May 6, 2009

Medical Association for Prevention of War writes to Mr Senaka Walgampaya,  High Commissioner to Sri Lanka

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  1. fastuntoactionaust permalink
    May 6, 2009 12:17 am

    30 April, 2009

    His Excellency Mr Senaka Walgampaya
    The High Commissioner
    High Commission of Sri Lanka
    35 Empire Circuit
    Forrest, ACT 2603

    Your Excellency,
    The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) views with horror the plight of innocent civilians who are caught in the war in Sri Lanka.

    Although the root causes of the tension are longstanding, recent escalation of fighting has brought suffering to at least tens, and possibly hundreds, of thousands of civilians who appear trapped, and reportedly with very limited access to basic medical or other humanitarian care. Many have died – according to the UN, nearly 6,500 civilians have been killed and 14,000 wounded in the past three months. The dead include hundreds of children. Most recently, it was reported that the Sri Lankan Government rejected a UN humanitarian mission to the war-torn region.

    It is disturbing to read also that international media and observers have been denied adequate access to affected areas, thus adding to the lack of action to protect innocent lives. Such denial of timely access for witnesses can only raise fears that the situation for civilians in the region may be worse than indicated by the information that has emerged.

    Reports of Sri Lankan forces using particularly inhumane weapons, including the possibility of chemical weapons, add further urgency to the need for an immediate ceasefire.

    MAPW calls on both sides in this war to cease armed conflict, and protect civilian lives. Specifically, we urge the Government of Sri Lanka to implement without delay:

    An immediate and permanent ceasefire
    Free access for international aid agencies to assist the displaced and injured people
    Free access for international observers and media to ascertain what is happening

    In recent years the world has seen much blood shed in the name of fighting terrorism. For children and others caught in conflict zones, war itself is terrifying. War is not an answer to terrorism; it simply escalates it. The human rights abuses often perpetrated in times of war set the scene for ongoing tensions. Negotiations must be pursued with the determination to resolve peacefully what cannot be resolved by killing.

    We ask you to act quickly to prevent further suffering of innocent people.

    Yours sincerely

    Dr Sue Wareham OAM
President, Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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