P.O.Box 55292, Box 300, Toronto, Ontario M1P 4Z7 Canada

MEDIA RELEASE June 5, 2005


The proposed Joint Mechanism recently discussed with the international donor community in Kandy which provides for fifty percent (50%) representation for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the delivery of tsunami rehabilitation funds in the northern and eastern provinces gives it legitimacy which it lacks, and acceptance of its claim to be the ' sole representative of the Tamil people' which is a misnomer to say the least. This is a dangerous step that would lead to the recognition and legitimacy for an ISGA over the same region where the LTTE seeks an absolute majority of its unelected cadres to be in control. A large segment of the Tamil people, the Moors (Muslims) and the Sinhala people of this region totally oppose any authority whatsoever being bestowed to the LTTE that has carried out a reign of terror throughout the Norwegian brokered ceasefire since February 2002, resorting to numerous acts of extortion, extra judicial killings, forcible child recruitment and every form of violence mainly against the very Tamil people whose liberation is their supposed goal.

The individual donors in foreign countries and their governments reacted in a most compassionate way and generously contributed towards the rehabilitation of the victims of the tsunami disaster, but did not at any stage intend to channel such funds to the care and authority of an unelected non-state actor, let alone the LTTE which has been designated as an international terrorist organization by the UN Security Council. The World Bank's Country Director, Peter Harrold's assertion that the LTTE being in control of the uncleared areas of the Vanni which they hold illegally, makes them a legitimate stakeholder is indeed baffling to say the least. Let us remind Mr. Harrold and the international community that the UN Security Council's Resolution Number 1373 of September 2001 clearly requires all nations to prevent the flow of funds to those groups officially listed as terrorist organizations.

The only solution that would be acceptable to the people of Sri Lanka is a Mechanism where the legally and democratically elected government headed by the President and Cabinet of Ministers will not only be in charge of the donated funds, but also be responsible for determining the policies and guidelines for its proper utilization.

The GOSL may join with a Management Committee made up of the elected representatives from all political parties including the Tamil National Alliance (an appendage of the LTTE), that serve the tsunami affected areas, in the implementation of the approved rehabilitation programs.

Two further levels at the District Administrative stage, and the ground level or the Grama Sewaka Divisions too could be joined or co-opted for carrying out the actual reconstruction work in the affected areas through contractors to be selected based on cost estimates and proven abilities in the field. This in our view is the only Joined (Joint) Mechanism that will receive the approval of the general public.

In order to ensure accountability and transparency of the proper utilization of both foreign and locally donated funds, it is recommended that the GOSL Ministry of Finance engage reputed auditors to thoroughly investigate all project expenditures. This process could be further enhanced by the international financial institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, Asian Development Bank, etc. conducting a parallel audit in order to satisfy the international donor community.

The only detailed proposal that meets with the above criteria is the " Distributing Aid for Recovery from Tsunami ", (DART) proposition submitted by our affiliate organization in Australia, namely the Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights of Sri Lanka (SPUR), which was officially released on May 16, 2005.

We call on the international community to move away from the flawed Joint Mechanism that they favour, and co-operate in the adoption of the all embracing DART scheme that avoids the many pitfalls of legitimising a brutal terrorist group. We also trust the Sri Lankan leaders will have the maturity and wisdom to accept this fully outlined alternate proposal that has already been presented to the government, which leaves out the negative aspects and provides a framework that would assist in effectively carrying out the rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the tsunami devasted regions of the island.

Yours very truly,

Mahinda Gunasekera
Honourary President



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