El pasado 21 de Mayo una granada fue lanzada en las inmediaciones de la oficina de Mutur, en el distrito de Trincomalee en el Este de Sri Lanka, zona donde el grave conflicto étnico entre cíngalos y tamiles se está agravando día tras día. En el ataque resultó herido Fabija Periskis, de 55 años de edad y nacionalidad Serbia, que se encuentra en en buenas condiciones, así como dos transeuntes. Otras dos oficinas de agencias humanitarias fueron atacadas sobre la misma hora.
A finales de Abril el grupo insurgente Tigres de Liberación de Tamil Eelam LTTE abandonó las negociaciones del proceso de paz ante la persistencia de los choques entre sus tropas y el ejército srilankés. Poco después la escalada de violencia ha ido aumentando hasta el punto que la misión de monitorización del proceso de paz ha denunciado que está monitorizando una guerra.
Así mismo, el equipo de Nonviolent Peaceforce en Trincomalee registró a finales de abril un intento de linchamiento por parte de una turba cingalesa. Estos y otros ataques muestran que las organizaciones humanitarias y pacifistas se están conviertiendo en objetivo por parte de los grupos armados.
Adjuntamos nota de prensa de Nonviolent Peaceforce
Nonviolent Peaceforce Statement on the Attack on its Mutur Office
Nonviolent Peaceforce is greatly saddened by the events of 21May 2006. A grenade was thrown in the vicinity of its office in Mutur in Trincomalee District, injuring one of the staff, 55 year Fabijan Periskic from Serbia. The attack also injured two passing civilians from Mutur Town. At the same time the offices of two humanitarian NGOs in Mutur were attacked in a similar manner. Luckily no one was injured in these other attacks.
Nonviolent Peaceforce has always maintained an impartial position in the conflicts and is solely motivated by its desire to assist civilians through nonviolent means. It has been in Sri Lanka since 2003 and it works, at the invitation of civilians, to support nonviolent conflict resolution and the protection of Sri Lankans working for their communities. It sees this attack as part of the continued violence that civilians in Sri Lanka have been suffering of late, especially in the areas where Nonviolent Peaceforce works.
Nonviolent Peaceforce has observed that the work of those trying to contribute to the reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, those from Sri Lanka and abroad, has been undermined by the current violence. Civilians who have been trying to rebuild their lives since the signing of the CFA in 2002 now face new challenges including limited access to education and health care, restricted economic activities of the rural poor such as farmers and fisherman, and further displacement of families.
Nonviolent Peaceforce has not drawn any conclusions at this time about who is responsible for the attacks, but if those responsible for the grenade attacks on Nonviolent Peaceforce’s office, ZOA and InterSOS were specifically targeting those trying to assist civilians in need, humanitarian work or nonviolent problem solving, then their motives are even more regrettable.
Currently Fabijan Periskic is in good condition and receiving medical attention.
The European Union, the United Nations and many other actors are calling
for investigations into the attacks, expressing concern about a culture of
impunity which enables such violence. We are calling on all parties to
investigate the attacks, identify the perpetrators and help prevent future
attacks. Please join that call by contacting your own government’s foreign
office, the Sri Lankan embassy in your country and the nearest LTTE
representative and urging them to investigate the attacks and disclose the
results of the investigations. Click here for a sample letter.
The added risk to international staff working in Sri Lanka, though it
concerns us, is not our primary concern. Our chief concern is always for
the people of Sri Lanka, who have suffered grenade blasts, ethnic clashes,
suicide bombings, political assassinations and every other form of violence
and abuse for decades. The signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in 2002 gave
Sri Lankans hope for lasting peace. Thinking the formal peace process would
benefit from complementary peace efforts at the grassroots level, Sri
Lankan peace makers invited Nonviolent Peaceforce in the expectation that
visible international support would help strengthen grassroots peace work.
Our teams now are working primarily to prevent more violence and to ensure that needed assistance reaches the victims of violence. Of course, this involves supporting Sri Lankan efforts to build bridges, nurture
reconciliation and create peace, but we are in crisis management mode, doing what we can to help reduce violence rather than helping to advance
the peace process. Yet there is still hope amid the growing violence.
Such hopes are fostered, for example, by the Mutur Peace Committee’s courage and initiative recently when it stepped forward to address communal tensions exacerbated by government responses to an attack on a security
officer. The Peace Committee requested and received accompaniment and assistance from NP’s Mutur team.
The pending arrival of the third group of NP field team members is also cause for hope-we need to strengthen our teams and our impact in Sri Lankamore than ever. If you can, please donate funds to help speed their deployment and support our ongoing efforts in Sri Lanka.
For further information please contact:
Nonviolent Peaceforce Sri Lanka Project Director Marcel Smits at +94-77-350-2351 (Sri Lanka)
Nonviolent Peaceforce Communication Director Nick Mele +1-360-671 0238 (USA)
Nonviolent Peaceforce Programme Director Christine Schweitzer +49-40-655 90 940 (Germany).