Tamil civilians stand in line to collect water in the Manik Farm refugee camp located on the outskirts of northern Sri Lankan town of Vavuniya May 26, 2009. REUTERS/David Gray
The confusion and misinformation that exists in the international media, in regards to Sri Lanka, is highlighted by a New York Times editorial titled 'No Victory in Sri Lanka'.
In it's piece, the New York Times carries damning claims made by anonymous 'aid workers.'
New York Times
The Tamil Tigers have a history of using civilians as human shields and the government claims it must screen out rebels hiding in the camps. But aid workers suspect other motives, including a desire to deny access to witnesses who may have seen abuses by government forces.It amazes me that the New York Times missed this article run on the Toronto Star in Canada on 22 May 2009.
Neil Buhne, the UNs' top official in Sri Lanka has told the correspondent of the Canadian newspaper, the Toronto Star, that some of the criticism directed at the Sri Lankan government is incorrect and unfair.
Toronto Star (CA)
He told the Star the Sri Lankan government's concerns over security are justified, as are restrictions on aid vehicles allowed into the camps.For the citizens of Sri Lanka this is incredibly frustrating and a huge let down. The international media continues to provide extremist on both sides fuel to fire the ethnic divide.
"I have no doubt there are at least a few hundred Tigers in the camps," Buhne said about the rebel Tamil Tigers, "and some are probably hard-line cadres, while others are people who certainly had an association with the Tigers and were forced to pick up arms."
Buhne's comments come as the government is being assailed internationally after preventing aid agencies such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and Save the Children from bringing supplies into camps near Vavuniya, a city in northern Sri Lanka where most war refugees are.
"There have been a lot of vehicles in and out of those camps," Buhne said. "It's a concern because they still don't know all of the people who are in the camp."
Roughly 180,000 Sri Lankans arrived at the camps over the last month.
The criticism being dished out is not at the aid agencies who refuse to travel to these camps on foot. The Sri Lankan newspapers report that the aid workers were given the option to park their vehicles outside the camps to ensure that aid gets in to the needy, and combatants weren't slipping out on UN and Red Cross vehicles. They didn't care enough for these displaced people enough to want to walk in the sweltering heat.