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Cablegate: Humanitarian Coordination Meeting Focuses On

VZCZCXRO3459
PP RUEHBI
DE RUEHLM #0600/01 1131040
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231040Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5895
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0573
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1975
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0347
RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI 0210
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 7025
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 5110
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 3682
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0874
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 3762
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 1061
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 0341
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2843
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 7600
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 5301
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO 0185
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000600

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE ALSO PASS TO USAID
AID/W PLEASE PASS USAID/OFDA, USAID/ANE, USAID/CMM
KATHMANDU FOR OFDA REGIONAL ADVISOR WILLIAM BERGER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER AORC EAID CE
SUBJECT: HUMANITARIAN COORDINATION MEETING FOCUSES ON
HEIGHTENED LTTE EFFORTS TO TARGET UN AND NGO PERSONNEL FOR
FORCED RECRUITMENT

1. (SBU) Summary: At the eighth meeting of Consultative
Committee on Humanitarian Assistance on April 23 with
Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights Samarasinghe
and Defense Secretary Rajapaksa, UN chief Lyons briefed on
his April 20 trip to Killinochchi in which he expressed the
UN's concern that UN and NGO local staff and other able
bodied young men in LTTE-controlled areas face increased risk
of forced recruitment. The LTTE offered to look into the
matter. The LTTE refused clearance for a UN ship with a
cargo of 5,000 metric tons of construction materials for
Jaffna to jump start construction activities on the grounds
that it could not guarantee the safety of waters it does not
control. (NOTE: The LTTE's refusal is specious since the UN
is only seeking a guarantee the LTTE will not attack the
vessel.) The GSL offered to transport the cargo on GSL
vessels if the UN wishes to do so. The Ambassador briefed the
Minister and Defense Secretary on an email sent April 17 from
Karuna requesting that international NGOs fill out a
questionnaire detailing their staff, budget, number of
vehicles and even mobile telephone numbers. Samarasinghe
responded that the government had looked into the matter and
concluded that the email was a hoax. The Minister agreed to a
suggestion by the Sri Lankan head of the Consortium of
Humanitarian Agencies that he take the lead in briefing all
NGOs that the letter was a hoax, and its request
inappropriate and therefore no NGO should respond. End
Summary.

UN Visit to Killinochchi: UN and NGO Officials at Risk of
Forced Recruitment
--------------------------------------------- ------------

2. (SBU) The Acting Head of UN Operations in Sri Lanka
Frederick Lyons briefed on his trip of April 20 to
Killinochchi. He said the purpose of his trip was to meet
with the UN team up there, deliver a letter from the UN on
LTTE child recruitment, and a separate letter on forced
recruitment of NGO staff who have faced an increased risk of
recruitment in the last several weeks. Lyons said the UN is
concerned that all able-bodied young men are subject to
forced recruitment in LTTE-controlled areas and noted that
three UN staff narrowly escaped this fate the day before his
arrival. Tamilselvan promised to review the issue, but the
UN does not hold out much hope of near-term progress. Lyons
noted that a group of international NGOs planned to meet
separately this week with the LTTE to reinforce their
concerns. The head of the European Commission Humanitarian
Office, David Verboom, used the occasion to ask for the
Minister's support for the permission of the government for a
Bilateral Donor Group of technical level diplomats to visit
to Killinochchi. Samarasinghe thought such a visit would be
useful and undertook to get formal approval.

3. (SBU) Lyons also requested LTTE clearance for a UN ship
to transport 5,000 metric tons of construction materials to
Jaffna to jump start construction activities and thereby
improve livelihood opportunities. He said that Tamilselvan
responded in his usual manner that the LTTE could not
guarantee the safe passage of UN flagged vessels because it
did not control the waters around Sri Lanka. (NOTE: This is
specious since the UN only requires a guarantee the LTTE will
not attack the UN vessel.) Lyons expressed disappointment
that he would have to explore other options. Minister
Samarasinghe suggested the possibility of the UN consigning
the construction materials to the government which would then
take responsibility for transporting the materials to Jaffna.
Lyons agreed to explore this and other ideas with the

COLOMBO 00000600 002 OF 002


government.

4. (SBU) Lyons concluded by raising the continuing
difficulties UN staff were experiencing at
government-controlled check points leading into
LTTE-controlled areas. He reported that his own delegation
had their vehicles searched in contravention of international
guidelines and that two UNHCR employees had been subjected to
body searches on a different occasion. He urged that
instructions be given to staff at all checkpoints to follow
international guidelines and practice.

Government Says Alleged Karuna Email a Hoax
-------------------------------------------

5. (SBU) The Ambassador on behalf of the Co-Chairs briefed
the Minister and Defense Secretary on an email sent April 17
from Karuna requesting that international NGOs fill out a
questionnaire detailing their staff, budget, number of
vehicles and even mobile telephone numbers. He explained
that several NGOs had contacted the Embassy to ask for
guidance on how to respond. The Embassy advised them not to
respond pending clarification by the government, since it was
clearly inappropriate for Karuna or another paramilitary
organization to request such details. Ambassador asked for
GSL guidance on the matter and requested that the GSL ask
Karuna to withdraw his email. After consulting with the
Defense Secretary, the Minister said he had been briefed on
the Ambassador's conversation with the Foreign Secretary on
this subject (septel). The government had looked into the
matter and concluded that the email was a hoax. Samarasinghe
agreed to a suggestion by the Sri Lankan head of the
Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies that he take the lead in
briefing all NGOs that the letter was a hoax, and its request
inappropriate and therefore no NGO should respond.
BLAKE

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