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Update on the doctors on parade by the SL government

July 11, 2009

Times Online – World Agenda: ‘Confessions’ by Sri Lankan doctors raise doubts over lasting peace

Times Online – Doctors’ orders

Colombo’s order to the Red Cross to cut back its work at Tamil internment camps is an outrage. The world must boycott Sri Lanka until it starts releasing detainees

 

 

There is something despicable about forcing doctors to lie about war crimes. By their calling, doctors are committed to relieving human suffering, to helping the sick and preventing disease. It is therefore particularly disturbing to see the five doctors who remained with the besieged Tamil civilians as the Sri Lankan Army closed in being paraded before journalists to deny their earlier casualty reports. Men who risked their lives to save lives are now being forced to take part in a political charade to cover up the appalling suffering two months ago — suffering that is still being inflicted on 300,000 Tamils interned in detention camps in northern Sri Lanka.

As the army squeezed the Tamil Tigers into an ever smaller strip of beach, the doctors were the only source of news about the slaughter caused by the military’s indiscriminate shelling. The United Nations found that more than 7,000 civilians were killed between January and May. Subsequent aerial photographs of beach graves, revealed in The Times, suggested that the figure was more than 20,000. World outrage embarrassed the Colombo Government. The doctors were swiftly arrested and nothing further was heard of them until Wednesday.

Their recantation, clearly made under duress, was as ludicrous as it was humiliating. Mechanically rehearsed but clearly nervous, they drastically reduced the death toll estimates, denied that a key hospital had been shelled and insisted that they had been forced to exaggerate the totals by Tiger fighters. In response the UN yesterday asserted tersely that it stood by its figures.

Few people will be fooled by Colombo’s crude attempt at a propaganda victory. For the Government took a far more sinister and callous step yesterday when it ordered the International Committee of the Red Cross to scale back its operations in Sri Lanka, leave the camps where it has been monitoring conditions and halt its aid programmes. The need for expatriate assistance was much less now than before, the Government asserted. Sri Lankans were fully able to meet all the needs of those detained in “welfare villages”.

The claim is an outrageous lie. Senior international aid figures said yesterday that about 1,400 people a week are dying at one of the big internment camps. Tamil civilians, rounded up after the government victory on the pretext of a security need to weed out former fighters, are suffering from hunger, disease, insanitary conditions, overcrowding and the enforced separation of families. The Government has taken almost no steps to free them. Indeed, a former Sri Lankan foreign minister has accused it of a policy of deliberate “ethnic cleansing” to change the population balance.

Colombo’s order puts the Red Cross in a difficult position. Historically, it has rarely spoken out — even about Nazi concentration camps — so as not to jeopardise access to those in greatest danger. It was the only aid agency allowed inside the war zone in the final stages of the conflict. But its few statements angered the Government. Sri Lanka wants no witnesses to what is now being done in these modern concentration camps.

If the Red Cross is forced to withdraw, however, the outside world should step in. The Sri Lankan Government is awaiting a $1.9 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to address its balance-of-payments crisis and postwar development. None of this money should be paid until independent aid agencies are guaranteed access to the Tamil camps and until Sri Lanka starts to release those detained. Other world bodies — the Commonwealth, the United Nations and even world cricketing organisations — should boycott Colombo until reconciliation begins. A nation cannot run concentration camps and expect the world to look away.

War Without Witness – Sri Lankan Government paraded Doctors in custody, to cover-up War Crime Evidences – But, facts speak for it-self

On 8th July 2009, Sri Lankan Government paraded 5 Tamil Doctors (Dr. T.Sathiyamoorthy, Dr. T.Varatharaja, Dr V.Shanmugaraja, Dr. Illancheliyan Pallavan and Dr. S. Sivapalan ), who are currently under Sri Lankan Military Intelligence custody for nearly 2 months, in an effort to cover-up its War Crime Evidences. Those five doctors who acted as the eyes and ears of the world during Sri Lankan Government’s War Without Witness waged in Vanni recanted their previous reporting under duress, sources close to their families confirmed to “War Without Witness”.

The whole drama was staged at Sri Lankan Defence Ministry, ‘Media Centre for National Security’ and moderated by Mr Jeyarajan Yogaraj, son of a Sri Lankan Police Officer and a full time employee of Sri Lankan State Media, Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation & Rupavahini TV ‘eye’ Channel.

Under duress, The doctors said that only up to 750 civilians were killed between January and mid-May in the final battles of the war in 2009, a number far below the 20,000 Civilian casualty documented with identities confirmed and published by War Without Witness on 13th June 2009 ( http://warwithoutwitness.com/SLCasualityReport/ ).

Sam Zarifi, the Asia-pacific director for Amnesty International, said that the statements from the doctors were “expected and predicted”. “There are very significant grounds to question whether these statements were voluntary, and they raise serious concerns whether the doctors were subjected to ill-treatment during weeks of detention,” he said. “From the time the doctors were detained, the fear was that they would be used exactly this way.”

” The doctors, who appeared physically well but extremely nervous at the press conference”. ”Their recantation, clearly made under duress, was as ludicrous as it was humiliating. Mechanically rehearsed but clearly nervous, they drastically reduced the death toll estimates, denied that a key hospital had been shelled and insisted that they had been forced to exaggerate the totals by Tiger fighters. “ said The Time, UK

Considering the below facts, War Without Witness, urge main stream media, Human Rights organisations, Governments and Policy makers to be vigilant of these type of Sri Lankan Government Propaganda and also urge United Nations to not act like “club-of-governments” but rather act as a true voice of people & bring those perpetrators of Sri Lankan War Crimes into justice without fail & further delay.

Facts speak for It-Self

1) 20,000 Civilian casualty in 2009 has been documented with identities confirmed (including photos of the victims) and published by War Without Witness on 13th June 2009 ( http://warwithoutwitness.com/SLCasualityReport/ ).

2) An investigation by The Times uncovered evidence that more than 20,000 civilians were killed, mostly by the Army, which has claimed, incredibly, that it did not harm a single civilian.
Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/world_agenda/article6675150.ece

3) UN withheld casualty is 20,000. U.N. official figures show more than 7,000 civilians were killed between January and May. Human rights groups accused the government of shelling heavily populated areas and accused the rebels of holding civilians as human shields. Satellite photos showed densely populated civilian areas had been shelled. Both sides denied the accusations. When asked about the doctors’ latest comments, U.N. spokesman Gordon Weiss said: “We stand by our statements.” 
Source: http://www.innercitypress.com/3832_001.pdf , http://www.innercitypress.com/untrip3may3srilanka060209.html

4) Injured causality of more than 12,000 Tamils were transferred from Puthumattalan War Zone to Trincomalle by ship (more than 20 times) with assistance of I C R C. In addition, I C R C was assisted to transfer the injured people through land route to Vavuniya hospital and Mannar hospitals.
Full Name List ( First 10 Ships ) : http://warwithoutwitness.com/SLCasualityReport/Annex02_ICRC_Ship_PatientList.pdf

5) A doctor working with injured and displaced Tamils in northern Sri Lanka told Channel 4 News that there may be as many as 20,000 amputees among those who fled. Who caused this mass scale amputation?
Source: http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/world/asia_pacific/fresh+claims+over+tamil+casualties/3217257

6) On 2nd July 2009 , an eyewitness said, “There 35,000 children in the camps and out of which around 1,800 are orphans. “ This would equate to a minimum of 3600 causality ( ie both parents have been killed ).
Social Welfare Deputy Minister Lionel Premasri, officially confirmed on 9th July 2009, that there are 2,800 disabled people in camps amongst 300,00 detained IDPs. Who caused this huge scale of injuries ?
Source: http://www.groundviews.org/2009/07/02/an-eye-witness-account-of-idp-camp-conditions-in-sri-lanka/

7) Mr Rajiva Wijesinha, permanent secretary in Sri Lanka’s ministry of disaster management and human rights, confessed to Guardian on 4th June that the civilian death toll from the last stages of the war as 3,000 to 5,000. Will there be another parade by Rajiva ?
Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/04/sri-lanka-civilians-tigers-battle

8) If the hospital and civilians were not indiscriminately targeted by Sri Lankan Armed Forces, how one of the doctors paraded by Sri Lankan Government have injuries in his hand ?

9) S Kanthasamy Tharmakulasingham, Administrative Officer Health Department Mullaithivu – Makeshift Hospital was killed in an indiscriminate attack on hospital on 12th May 2009. On 2nd Feb 2009, A nurse who was attending a wounded patient at Udaiyaarkaddu makeshift hospital was killed when 3 shells hit the hospital. How they have been killed if there is no such indiscriminate attack by Sri Lankan Armed Forces on Hospitals?
  
10) Dr. T.Sathiyamoorthy, Dr. T.Varatharaja, Dr V.Shanmugaraja, Dr. Illancheliyan Pallavan and Dr. S. Sivapalan who served the many thousands of civilians stranded in the so called  “no fire zone” under the most difficult conditions of continuous aerial and artillery attacks, and have been hailed by the UN as heroes, Will the Sri Lankan Government release them immediately and recommend them for their well deserved UN award?
 
Original Video Interviews of these Doctors from war-zone during Jan-May 2009 can be viewed at – http://videos.warwithoutwitness.com

Executive Director / War Without Witness ED@WarWithoutWitness.com

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