Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 28 September 2008





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Government Gazette

INGOs stay in Kilinochchi at their own risk

The government would not guarantee the safety of the INGO and NGO workers including those who work with the UN agencies from Tuesday, the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, told the 'Sunday Observer' yesterday.

He said that these agencies have been given time until tomorrow (29) to vacate Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu and the government hoped that all these workers would return to Vavuniya before the deadline. "But we won't guarantee their safety after September 29.

The unliberated areas are not safe for them as the security forces have intensified the offensives against the LTTE to reach Kilinochchi", he said.Rajapaksa, said that the security forces were confidently going ahead into the Tiger heartland, which is its administrative capital and the war against the LTTE would be intensified in the coming days as troops are attacking the terrorists from more fronts.

"Now troops are very close to Kilinochchi and the government does not want these workers to be caught in a cross fire. We want to ensure their safety", he said.

The Defence Secretary also said that the Zoa had informed him about the decision of one of their project managers to join the LTTE and the security forces could not guarantee his security in future.

Meanwhile, the Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said that all the international aid workers who have volunteered to remain with the LTTE to support the outfit will be treated as terrorists and dealt with the existing laws of the country.

Referring to the LTTE's latest recruit - an Italian INGO worker, the Army Chief said that the security forces could not guarantee his security and he had been categorised as a terrorist.

"He has joined the LTTE at the wrong time where the days of the LTTE are numbered", he said adding that the security forces would not care about the safety of any foreign national after the deadline.

The Project Manager of the Zoa, one of the key INGOs under the UN Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA), has also forwarded a letter endorsing his enrolment to the LTTE. The senior officer of the Zoa, who worked in Kilinochchi, has refused to leave the LTTE territory.

According to Defence Ministry sources, the Italian official had been working for the LTTE for the past several years.

Meanwhile the Minister of Social Services Douglas Devananda said that new laws to scrutinize the NGO activities would be implemented soon.

He said that there were over 1,250 national level NGOs and over 20,000 community based organizations in the country, but only 408 have submitted actions plans annually.

Minister Devananda said, in the absence of a single institution to monitor their activities it had led to much corruption, misuse of public money, non-accountability and non-transparency. According to Minister Devananda, though some of the NGOs are registered under the NGOs Secretariat of his Ministry, lot of other NGOs were operating under other laws and did not register with the secretariat. "We are not able to monitor the large amount of money they bring into the country and do not know where the money goes.

We had received complaints that these NGOs are helping the LTTE but due to the poor system under the prevailing laws we are powerless to take action against them", he said.

He said that new laws would be implemented soon to give more teeth to the relevant authorities to control the sector to prevent money and their resources going into the hands of the LTTE and other illegal activities.



Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
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LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka

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