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Do Not Fund Genocide: Stop the Passage of Sri Lanka’s IMF Loan

July 6, 2009

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Do Not Fund Genocide: Stop the Passage of Sri Lanka’s IMF Loan

July 5, 2009

As human rights groups and other international organizations around the world continue to pressure the Government of Sri Lanka for an investigation into human rights abuses, Sri Lanka appears poised to receive nearly $2 billion from the International Monetary Fund. Despite its disregard for the lives of its citizens, Sri Lanka continues to request the loan to rebuild what they so callously destroyed. The Sri Lankan government recently abandoned its own investigation, which Human Rights Watch called “just the latest inadequate and incomplete effort by the Sri Lankan government to investigate serious human rights abuses and bring those responsible to justice.” As feckless probes continue and Sri Lanka comes closer to receiving this loan, nearly 300,000 refugees continue to be detained in government-run internment camps. According to Human Rights Watch, “Food distribution is chaotic, there are shortages of water, and sanitation facilities are inadequate. Camp residents do not have access to proper medical services and communicable diseases have broken out in the camps.” As the government blocks complete humanitarian and media access from the camps, hundreds continue to suffer.

This May saw the end of a brutal 25-year civil war between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Today, over a month later, those who fled from the ‘safe zone’ have yet to find safety as the refugees continue to be prevented from returning to their homes. The war is allegedly over, yet the government’s mistreatment of Tamil civilians is clearly not. British ambassador to the UN, John Sawers, wishes “that the government … was more open to the offers of help that have been extended to it,” rather than refusing to allow the international community to step in at this crucial point of the conflict. The government continues to deny full access to humanitarian organizations, while it simultaneously demands $1.9 billion in IMF loans for rebuilding efforts. Sri Lanka should not be allowed to spurn international humanitarian organizations while pleading with international economic institutions. A spokesperson at the IMF reported, “We and the IMF need to be assured that the [Sri Lankan] government is in a position where it can. . . implement a programme of economic reform and make good use of any money provided. We urge the Sri Lankan government to work to provide the international community with this assurance.” These calls come after months of hostility on the part of the Sri Lankan government, which repeatedly rejected calls for a ceasefire from the U.S., U.K., and United Nations. As negotiations regarding Sri Lanka’s loan come to an end, I urge you to consider the government’s irresponsible behavior and recognize the disaster that may further ensue should the government be granted such a loan.

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