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Fwd: Northern Muslims in refugee camps too have human rights

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  • Dr. Mareena Reffai
    But then who cares? this is a forgotten breed of people. their homes are still huts with thatched roofs which needs re-layng every two years. Their language
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 27, 2007
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      But then who cares? this is a forgotten breed of people.
      their homes are still huts with thatched roofs which needs re-layng every two years.
      Their language barrier is still preventing them from getting even treatment form the government hospitals.
      Their youth cannot even get married since they still have 5 lakhs dowry problem and also they have no houses to live if they get married.
      Many of their women folk are out as housemaids and some of the men are getting into pornography, ho,o sexuality  and drugs - since they do not know what to do with their time.
      But life goes on. the rest of the Muslims too go on living.
      Yes in this 21st century. while there are Muslim businessmen who can pay 50 million or 500 million ransom.
      Strange , isn't it? But it's true.

      ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: Egroup <egroup100@...
      Date: Jun 25, 2007 4:35 PM
      Subject: <SRILANKA MUSLIMS> Northern Muslims in refugee camps too have human rights
      To: srilankamuslims@yahoogroups.com


      Northern Muslims in refugee camps too have human rights

      By Latheef Farook

      It is indeed very saddening that around 130,000 northern Muslims driven out forcibly by the LTTE from their homes 17 years ago continue to languish in refugee camps while the recent eviction of a little more than 300 odd Tamils from Colombo should draw such fierce criticism and even an apology from the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

      As we all know the eviction of Tamils from lodges in Colombo was in complete violation of legal and moral principles and disregarded human dignity. The Supreme Court verdict and local and international pressure made Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake apologize and bring them back to Colombo.

      The plight of the northern Muslims: A forgotten story

      The question is where were these pressure groups when it came to the plight of the northern Muslims, who were shamelessly robbed of their belongings and driven out like livestock to an unknown wilderness. Some found means of transportation while others walked and walked before ending up in refugee camps days and weeks later. Unlike in the case of the northern Muslims, the Tamils evicted from lodges were provided meals and government transportation to and from, besides a government apology.

      The eviction of Tamils drew swift response from the West led by the United States and United Kingdom followed by Canada, European Union and human rights organizations.

      Though the US under its President George Bush and UK under its Prime Minister Tony Blair were the first to respond to the eviction of Tamils from Colombo these two countries should be the last to speak of human rights in view of their still continuing massacres of innocent people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

      Together these two countries invaded Afghanistan where they killed more than 100,000 impoverished Afghans and made the country an endless killing field. Then they invaded Iraq and so far have killed more than a million innocent civilians, rendered more than a million refugees in their own country and drove out more than 2.2 million into refugee camps in Syria and Jordan where, in makeshift camps, they struggle to cope with snakes, scorpions and mosquitoes while children suffer from all sorts of diseases.

      It is only natural therefore that the displaced northern Muslims cannot expect the US and UK to respond to their plight in the same way they responded to the plight of Tamils evicted from their lodges. They have no time for Sri Lanka's northern Muslims though they often preach human rights, freedom and democracy. And there are people here to listen to them too. So much for the so called human rights cry of President George Bush and now disgraced British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

      Even successive Sri Lankan governments have ignored the sufferings of northern Muslims who survive on a meager dole of Rs.1260 amidst abject poverty, unemployment, lack of basic health, educational and other facilities besides being afflicted by numerous other economic, social and even family problems. The opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe didn't bother to raise with the LTTE the issue of northern Muslims in refugee camps returning to their homes when he signed the Ceasefire Agreement which is now a dead letter.

      Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga too never paid any attention to the plight of the northern Muslims every time she started negotiations with LTTE. Instead Ms. Kumaratunga took the entire Muslim community for a ride when she secretly negotiated at 14 different meetings during a period of four long months the P-TOMS Agreement with the LTTE. She kept the Muslims in the dark while making false promises though Muslims were the worst affected in the tsunami tragedy.

      She brought in Norway as peace facilitator, but for Norway, accused by many as the LTTE's torch bearer in the West, Muslims never seemed to exist when they facilitated the peace talks. Norway was never known as an impartial negotiator.

      Norway negotiated the Oslo Treaty between Israel and Palestine and, even today, the Palestinians are paying the price with their blood, flesh and lives for putting their signature to this agreement.

      How Norway betrayed the Sri Lankan Muslims in the Ceasefire Agreement and the P-TOMS which they negotiated is common knowledge. This is where Sri Lankan Muslims stand with Norway.

      Unfortunately, the northern Muslims cannot even turn to Muslim politicians to take up their case as there exists a growing feeling among Muslims in general that these politicians, driven by their greed for power, positions, perks and privileges have virtually abandoned the community as demonstrated by their subdued response, which many Muslims consider was only meant to please the government, to the recent shameful and disgusting abductions for ransom and killings of innocent Muslim businessmen.

      Speaking out on behalf of the community and still remaining in positions is a delicate and difficult task in this highly commercialized, criminalized and corrupt political scene. And if we are to judge by the community's mood it is unlikely that these Muslim politicians, sandwiched between their positions under an all powerful presidency and their obligations towards the community, will enjoy this state of affairs for long.What is forgotten by all is that Muslims too are human.


      Sunday June 24, 2007

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