Amnesty International & Mercy Corps – 2009-05-19 00:38:37
ACTION ALERT: Help Monitor Violence in Sri Lanka; Help Support Refugees
Amnesty International & Mercy Corps
Help Monitor the Human Toll in Sri Lanka
(May 18, 2009) — Amnesty International, along with Human Rights Watch, brought to light a startling set of satellite images last Tuesday that provided proof positive of the shocking, previously unknown extent of the violence committed by both parties in the conflict in Sri Lanka.
This could not have come at a more critical time. The Sri Lankan government has demonstrated that it will go to any length to stop news of the conflict from leaving the country. It has continually deported foreign reporters – including one as recently as yesterday. It’s even gone so far as to kill and imprison Sri Lankan journalists in order to stifle the truth about the violence in the country.
This poses a major barrier to getting accurate information and corroborating reports from those on the conflict’s front lines. But as long as we and our allies in the struggle to uphold human rights are bearing witness to these atrocities, neither side of the conflict can stop us from showing the whole world the truth about the appalling scene that’s playing out in the country.
Your critical gift today will help us keep our eyes on the ground to continually monitor and report on the volatile situation in Sri Lanka. With your support, Amnesty can leverage satellite imaging and other cutting-edge technologies to continue to shine the light on the world’s darkest corners of human rights abuses, just like we have for nearly 50 years.
Hours after we released never before seen satellite imagery of the war zone and called on President Obama to show leadership on the crisis, he urged both parties of the conflict to stop the bloodshed.
Developments on the ground unfolded rapidly over the weekend, culminating in an acknowledgment by the Tamil Tigers that the conflict had “reached its bitter end.” But with the Sri Lankan government still denying access to aid agencies, human rights monitors and journalists, we cannot confirm how many civilians are still trapped or whether fighting is still going on.
Help us continue to monitor this explosive situation and extend a lifeline to innocent civilians by making a tax-deductible gift today.
Jim McDonald is Amnesty International USA’s Country Specialist for Sri Lanka
No War’s End for Displaced Families in Sri Lanka
(May 18, 2009) — The war in Sri Lanka may appear to be over, but its humanitarian crisis is still unfolding. In recent months, an estimated 265,000 Tamil civilians have fled the final battleground between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who have fought for an independent Tamil homeland for more than two decades.
Mercy Corps has 90 staff members on the island helping families “build back better” from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. In the two hardest-hit coastal areas, Mercy Corps is helping job-rich industries recover and fighting a food crisis that threatens the most vulnerable families.
In the country’s north, our team is taking steps to help families uprooted to the Vavuniya district, home to the highest concentration of displacement camps. These sites are “already buckling under the pressure of the existing IDP population,” according to the UN. Stocks of food and other critical items are running low.
Our plan is to erect temporary shelters, provide drinking water, build latrines and promote better hygiene practices — and ultimately help families return to their communities and rebuild their lives and livelihoods.
We’re doing just that in Sri Lanka’s conflict-scarred Eastern Province — helping people recover by providing small-scale rice farmers the tools and financing to improve their yields, and by working with multi-ethnic associations to build trust and lay a foundation for peaceful progress.