Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Sri Lanka needs to be looked at now. I'd been working (slowly) on the next post in the alphabetic sequence I've taken so far, but I received this call to action from my friends at Avaaz and it has to be shared:
A modern day bloodbath is unfolding on the small island of Sri Lanka and the key to stopping this humanitarian disaster lies with Sri Lanka’s largest donor and closest partner in the region -- Japan. Let´s send a powerful message to the Japanese Foreign Minister asking for pressure to stop the killing.
Now that the US has begun to increase its pressure, the solution to stopping this humanitarian disaster lies with Sri Lanka’s key donor and closest partner in the region -- Japan. It has powerful political and economic influence over the Sri Lankan government and a swing vote at the UN Security Council, which up until now has turned a blind eye to this mounting catastrophe.
Click here to send a message to the Japanese Foreign Minister, who is deciding his government's next steps. Japan cares about its international reputation and a flood of messages from abroad would encourage them to act. If Japan moves then the Sri Lankan government will be forced to immediately respond to protect civilians.
As last weekend´s carnage testifies, every minute counts for the estimated 50,000 civilians still trapped inside the shrinking conflict zone and for those 200,000 more who are barely surviving in overcrowded camps. The International Committee of the Red Cross, which rarely makes public comment, called this conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil rebels, 'nothing short of catastrophic'.
Until now, the divided UN Security Council has abdicated their responsibility to protect Sri Lankans from war crimes and other atrocities. But in this conflict Japan cannot be ignored – it's powerful voice could tip the balance and influence the conflict dynamics, saving lives in the short-term and promoting peace and development in the long run.
Asia's longest-running civil war is entering its final stage – the only question is how many will die before it ends. Let´s send a powerful message urging Foreign Minister Nakasone to act responsibly and lead international efforts to push the Tamil rebels to release the remaining civilians, stop the government bombing and bring sustainable peace to Sri Lanka. Japan's political and economic weight means that they cannot be ignored.
As other donor nations increase the pressure behind the scenes this week, a truly global citizens' outcry can further turn the heat on the Japanese government to use its leverage and push for a robust and concerted international action that stops the bloodshed and protect the Sri Lankan civilian population at risk. Thank you for sending your message today.
Luis, Brett, Alice, Graziela, Pascal, Ben, Ricken, Paula, Iain, Paul, Raj and the rest of the Avaaz Team
Update May 14, 2009:
The United Nations Security Council has asked the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels to ensure the safety of civilians trapped in the conflict.
A UNSC statement expressed grave concern at the worsening humanitarian crisis in the northeast.
The International Red Cross report that their workers on the ground in Sri Lanka are "witnessing an unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe."
Update May 23, 2009:
According to some mainstream media outlets, the United Nations has stated that up to 10,000 civilians died in the Sri Lankan army's advance across the north of the island between January and May. In fact, the United Nations has not stated a casualty count at this stage. To properly assess the human cost of the Sri Lankan army's advance, the UN needs access to the suffering survivors. The Sri Lankan government has not, as yet, provided the necessary access.
See also: bloody venerable island on webdiary-libre
Google news on Sri Lanka
Wikimedia Atlas of Sri Lanka