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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
US Congressmen Appeal to President Kumaratunga to help Tamil refugees
On 8 December, 28 US Congressmen called upon President Kumaratunga to 'avoid a devastating human tragedy' and urged her ' not stand in the way of providing immediate relief to the thousands of innocent civilians fleeing the civil disorder'. They wrote:
Dear Madam President:
We are writing on a matter of urgent humanitarian concern the need to deliver food, clothing and medical supplies to the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the civil conflict in the Jaffna peninsula.
The displaced families lack adequate food, drinking water and medical supplies and are completely cut off from supply routes. They are living without proper shelter among torrential rains. Without appropriate sanitation, an outbreak of dysentery appears imminent. If aid does not reach the refugees soon, thousands will lose their lives.
In order to avert this humanitarian disaster, we respectfully request that your government allow international relief workers and supplies into the Jaffna peninsula to aid those who have been forced from their homes. In addition, immediate rescission of the declaration of the Jaffna Lagoon as a "no-go" zone would allow refugees unrestricted passage to safe areas, saving many lives.
Again, in order to avoid a devastating human tragedy, we urge your immediate attention to this serious matter. The political conflict in Sri Lanka should not stand in the way of providing immediate relief to the thousands of innocent civilians fleeing the civil disorder.
Signed Joe Kennedy , John Lewis, Corrine Brown. John Joseph, Moakley Kweisi Mfume Tony Beilenson, Nancy Pelosi, Mark Foley , Lloyd Doggett , Karen Thurman, Bennie Thompson, Bill Luther, Alcee Hastings, Neil Abercrombie, Marty Meehan, Anna Eshoo, Lucille Roybal-Allard, David Bonior, John Conyers Jr., Sam Farr , Blanche Lambert Lincoln, Pat Roberts, Henry B. Gonzalez, Bart Gordon, Curt Weldon, Herbert Bateman, Michael Oxley , James Clyburn. (India Abroad, January 5th 1996)
The Sri Lanka state controlled Sunday Observer commented on the Appeal on 24 December 1995:
"Twenty eight little known United States Congressmen and women have been prompted by the ``Eelam Tamil Association of America'' to address a letter to President Chandrika Kumaratunga warning that ``thousands will lose their lives'' if aid did not reach refugees in the North. The letter was issued to the media by the Association. The letter, which appears to have been erroneously addressed to President Chandrika ``Kuratunga'', claims that the displaced population was ``completely cut off from supply routes''. "