CFA 2002- 2007: 5 Years of Ceasefire - A Missed Opportunity
Report from the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization outlining the five years of the Ceasefire Agreement.
The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) signed a Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) brokered by the Norwegian facilitators and supported by the International Community. At the time, the promise of an end to 25 years of war in the NorthEast, embargo on basic life commodities, and the resulting devastation to the physical and psychological landscape was welcomed by the civilian population and expectations were high that there would be an improvement in the humanitarian situation. The fact that the International Community was proactively supporting the peace process gave further confidence to all stakeholders.
The Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), a national NGO with an in-depth knowledge of the ground realities, customs, and culture of the affected communities, was uniquely positioned to effectively participate in the implementation of projects that would deliver the "peace dividends" that the people expected would follow the signing of the CFA. Following the Tsunami, TRO exhibited its capabilities and effectiveness to the International Community as well as to the GoSL and in recognition of this the latter presented a Certificate of Commendation to TRO for the construction of over 9,000 temporary shelters.
Though five years have passed since the signing of the CFA, and despite the best efforts of the national and international NGOs, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations, Japan International Cooperation Agency and the international community, even the essential humanitarian needs of the people have still not been met – there has been no discernable "peace dividends" for the people of the NorthEast. In fact the plight of the civilian population has deteriorated very much further due to the recent outbreak of hostilities and the Tsunami of December 2004.
· There are more internally displaced people now (887,475) than at the beginning of the CFA. About 350,000 from the pre-CFA period, a further 210,000 displaced in 2006 due to the recent offensives by the GoSL and 330,000 due to Tsunami.
· More than 75% of the 300,000 conflict damaged/destroyed houses are yet to be repaired or reconstructed;
· More than 80% of the damaged/destroyed basic community infrastructure (primary health, schools, water supply, roads, etc) have not been repaired or reconstructed;
· Livelihoods have not been restored;
· 60% of the families in the NorthEast continue to remain below the poverty line;
· Tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation in the NorthEast lags far behind the "South".
o 67% of all tsunami destroyed houses were in the NorthEast, 33% in the "South"
o 98% in the South & 56% in the West vs. 22% in the North and 43% in the East.
Politicization of development work in general, particularly the marginalization and demonization of TRO, and the introduction of restriction of access to the affected communities in the NorthEast by the GoSL are the primary cause for the very low achievement there.
The attached report highlights the above civilian expectations and the inadequacies of the GoSL to meet the needs of the affected communities in the NorthEast.
ITRO London appeals to international institutions, human rights bodies and humanitarian organizations to make representations to the International Community and to the GoSL to allow TRO and other NGOs operating in the NorthEast with the necessary access to affected areas to provide crucial humanitarian assistance.
ITRO London is the representative and standard setting body of TRO (Sri Lanka) and its overseas offices.
Source: ITRO LONDON
Date: 12 March 2007