AFTA condemns Sri Lanka's Cluster Bomb Attack on Tamil Civilians (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka's Cluster Bomb Attack on Tamil Civilians


The Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations (AFTA), the peak body representing the Tamil Australians and New Zealanders, condemns in the strongest terms, the Sri Lankan air force bombers bombing the hamlet of internally displaced people (IDP) using Russian made OFAB ' 500 cluster bombs in the early hours of Saturday the 29 November. Three displaced civilians were killed on the spot including a child. Several people were wounded, including seven children, according to reports from Northern Sri Lanka. The indiscriminate bombardment has destroyed more than 29 shelters of the IDPs.

Colombo's use of cluster bombs comes as more than 100 countries are scheduled to meet in Oslo on Wednesday to sign a treaty banning the use of cluster bombs. On 28 May 2008 diplomats from more than 100 countries meeting in Dublin in Ireland agreed to the text of the resulting Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). "Diplomats and politicians from around the world are about to deliver the kiss of death to one of the deadliest, indiscriminate non-nuclear weapons on the planet," writes Chris Cobb of Canwest News Service on the treaty banning the use of cluster bombs. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said his government will stop using cluster bombs.

The IDP hamlet that was bombed was constructed by the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation´(TRO), a week earlier, to house civilians who were earlier staying at a refugee camp elsewhere, and was still setting up the basic facilities and supply of relief when the incident took place. This IDP hamlet had large number of freshly erected huts, each one housing a single family. Ironically only last week, Sri Lanka confiscated humanitarian funds of TRO (75% donated by INGOs and Foreign Governments) from their bank accounts in Sri Lanka.

When Israel used artillery-fired cluster munitions in populated areas of Lebanon on 19th of July 2006, Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch said, "cluster munitions are unacceptably inaccurate and unreliable weapons when used around civilians" and "they should never be used in populated areas.

AFTA believes that the use of cluster munitions in populated areas violates the prohibition on indiscriminate attacks contained in international humanitarian law. The wide dispersal pattern of their sub-munitions makes it very difficult to avoid civilian casualties if civilians are in the area.

Moreover, because of their high failure rate, cluster munitions leave large numbers of hazardous, explosive duds that injure and kill civilians even after the attack is over.

AFTA would like to point out that the indiscriminate use of such a deadly weapon in an area previously designated by the government of Sri Lanka itself as a safe haven for IDPs, clearly indicates that Sri Lanka is committing genocide of a people whilst calling this war as a "humanitarian war".

Therefore AFTA appeals to the international community and the Australian government in particular, to condemn such dastardly acts by Sri Lanka, apply diplomatic pressure on them to comply with international humanitarian law and to call on the countries that supply these weapons to stop all such supplies to Sri Lanka.

For more information:

Sydney-Dr. Victor Rajakulendran 0402 484 209
Melbourne- Mr. Murugesu Paramanathan 0408 360 865
Canberra ' Dr.Raga Ragavan 0402 387 920

PO Box 382, Mawson, ACT 2607, Australia
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Member Associations: Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Auckland and Wellington
Related News with Witness Statement Quick IDP action averts carnage from Cluster bombs

Von: 02.12.2008,

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