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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Foundation White Paper Describes Breakdown In Relief Efforts

International Foundation for Human Rights and Tolerance: "06/05/2005: LOS ANGELES -- The Foundation's three-week fact-finding mission to Sri Lanka earlier this year has found serious breakdowns in the international relief effort for victims in Sri Lanka of the December 26th tsunami that devasted south-east Asia.

In a White Paper detailing its findings, the mission describes how voluntary organizations, local community leaders, non-governmental organizations and, at a local level, some government bodies and representatives of international humanitarian organizations are carrying the burden. But the mission found that the tremendous sums pledged by the international community are not reaching those who most need them.

The White Paper, Destruction and Recovery: A Fact-finding Mission to Sri Lanka, January 22 -- February 11, 2005, states that "unless action is taken, the goodwill and financial support that flowed freely in the wake of the disaster will be squandered. More importantly, the people who most need help will fail to receive it."

The mission pursued the following primary objectives:

* To determine whether children orphaned by the tsunami faced significant risk of being kidnapped by human traffickers.
* To ascertain whether there was any substance to reports that millions of dollars donated for tsunami relief was not reaching the victims.
* To find out what the survivors needed to rebuild their lives and to get back to work.
* To launch a human rights education campaign for the children of Sri Lanka with the promotion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

To answer these questions, the team met with representatives of national and local governments, international relief organizations, non governmental organizations (NGOs), such as UNICEF, the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, Save the Children, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), local charitable groups, schools, refugee camps, orphanages and individuals in Sri Lanka helping with disaster relief. They also spoke to many of the refugees housed in the camps, mostly fishermen and their wives and children.

The 24-page, fully-illustrated White Paper provides complete details of the mission's findings for each area of concern. It also provides a brief history of the country, and a broad picture of the situation facing the nation in the wake of the tsunami.

Full Report

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