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Justice for Tsunami Victims

7 April 2005

Justice for Tsunami Victims

Christian World Service (CWS) is calling on New Zealanders to support Sri Lankan tsunami victims who more than three months later have yet to receive appropriate Government aid.

CWS is asking New Zealanders to show their support by signing a petition initiated in the affected communities in Sri Lanka.

A broad coalition of groups has been formed in Sri Lanka demanding to know why generous donations to the Sri Lankan government have been withheld from the people who need them most.

The Alliance for Protection of National Resources and Human Rights believes the government is distributing aid unfairly and implementing policies that remove the poorest people, who traditionally dwell on the coasts, to make way for business interests, such as the tourist industry.

“CWS is horrified to hear continued reports of the misapplication of government aid,” says CWS director, Jonathan Fletcher. “The generous donations of so many countries cannot be used against the people for whom they were given. Our long term partners are asking for international support to ensure justice for the tsunami victims.”

The Sri Lankan government with the support of business has developed a plan that pushes fisher people off the coast and out of the seas, in order to make way for tourist hotels and large fishing industries.

The Sri Lankan Alliance is calling on the government to spend the donations on the people affected and for the victims to decide on the type of housing, sanitation facilities, health and education services provided for their communities. They are also calling on their President to revoke the State of Emergency declared in the wake of the tsunami.
CWS has long-term partnerships in South Asia and has received similar reports from coastal South India.

The petition is available at www.cws.org.nz With a closing date on 8 May, 2005

ENDS

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