Wednesday, November 5, 2008

War in Sri Lanka - Memorandum of Protest

Memorandum of Protest

5th November 2008

His Excellency the High Commissioner,
The High Commission of Sri Lanka,
Kuala Lumpur.

Your Excellency,

We, the representatives of members of Malaysian Indian Congress Youth Wing and Malaysian Youth NGOs, hereby submit our memorandum registering our vehement protest against the Sri Lankan Government’s continued air and ground attacks in recent weeks against the Sri Lankan Tamils resulting in innocent men, women and children being killed and maimed; hundreds of thousands of Tamils have been displaced, literally refugees in their own country!

Without taking sides as to who is fighting the ‘right war’, Malaysian Youths are deeply concerned with the alarmingly high rate of civilian casualties in the on going war.

Humanitarian Crisis

Relentless aerial bombardment and artillery shelling by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces have forced more than 310,000 people to become internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Vanni District, more than 160,000 in Mullaitivu and 150,000 more in and around Kilinochi.

These displacements of civilians have in turn brought hardships such as:

· Malnutrition and it is increasing - 60% of children in the Vanni District are suffering from malnourishment or a lack of proper nutrition.

· Lack of nutritional food or food supplements for pregnant women and lactating mothers.

· Premature births and miscarriages due to the stress of displacement.

· 90% of families have lost their livelihoods and livelihood equipment – which has created high levels of stress and depression in the heads of households as they are unable to provide for their families and have no hope for their future.

· The yearly monsoon rains has led to serious health issues due to the lack of adequate water and sanitation facilities.

· Lack or non-availability of transport facilities have made the displaced persons’ mobility totally hampered.

· Costs of petrol, diesel and kerosene have become beyond the reach of the people.

· Food prices have multiplied a hundred times.

Agricultural Production

The current displacement has produced a disastrous effect on agricultural production. Farmers have been forced to abandon their paddy fields when they are displaced.

24,500 hectares have been abandoned in the following areas:

· 9,500 hectares in Mannar District.

· 4,000 hectares in Mullaitivu District.

· 5,000 hectares in Vavuniya District.

· 6,000 hectares in Kilinochi District.

Medicine and Hospitals

Only very limited supply of medicine is available and even that is becoming difficult to come by.

Lack of fuel supply restricts generation of electricity and the movement of ambulance service.


Approximately 15,000 families are currently living under trees, while the remainder of the internally displaced persons are sheltered in public buildings or in makeshift shelters made of tarpaulin sheets.

Water, Sanitation and Health

These important requirements have become the most difficult items to reach the displaced persons.


Displacement has very drastically affected the school going children. 114 schools with 36,272 students have been displaced. Examinations have been suspended.

Primary and pre-school students have stopped attending classes regularly due to shelling and air attacks.

Attack on Civilians

Civilian areas are regularly bombed and shelled by the Armed Forces. This bombing and shelling has the effect terrorising the civilian population. Many of these attacks occur at night and in the early morning and in close proximity to civilian settlements.

Our Request

We believe that the conflict between the Tamil and Sinhalese communities must be resolved peacefully, and therefore:

We, the members of the Malaysian Indian Congress of Malaysia, in the name humanity call upon the Sri Lankan Government to stop forthwith the current military attack on the Tamils and take immediate steps to provide necessary aids to suffering Tamils.

We, also call upon the Sri Lankan Government to respect the wishes of the International Community’s to stop fighting and resume negotiation with all the parties concerned with a view of finding lasting peace between the Brothers of Sri Lanka.

We, most respectfully, request His Excellency the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Kuala Lumpur to submit our Memorandum of Protest to the Government of Sri Lanka for its attention and action. We on our part will forward a copy of this Memorandum to our Foreign Affairs Ministry for their action.

We remain,
Yours truly,

Murugesan Sinnandavar
Organising Chairman
Youths for Peace in Sri Lanka

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