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Government Gazette

Positive action against terrorism

WE HAVE often heard the refrain that terrorism cannot be defeated and the war cannot be won. These statements do not tally with the recent achievements of the Lankan Security Forces, which have resoundingly defeated Tiger terrorists in the East and elsewhere, confining them to Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi.

In fact, Sri Lanka has been one of the world’s foremost campaigners against terrorism. It advocated global action against terror groups long before 9/11 galvanised the rest of the world into taking concrete steps to curb terrorism. It has been fighting one of the world’s most ruthless terror outfits for nearly two decades while other countries simply ignored the growing menace.

This was the crux of Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama’s message to the international community at the anti-terror confab now on in Colombo.

Bogollagama noted that Sri Lanka can consider itself as a ‘success story’ in the battle against terrorism. Lanka’s long, relentless and yet unfinished campaign against terrorism has indeed given hope to other democracies affected by terrorism around the world that terror groups can be fought and overcome.

The vigilance of the Security Forces and the public has been another factor which enabled Lanka to gain the upper hand over the terrorists on many occasions.

Fighting the terrorists per se has not been the sole objective of Sri Lankan Governments. It has also encompassed freeing the civilians in uncleared areas from LTTE tyranny. In addition to keeping the civilians in primitive conditions, the LTTE often used them as a human shield.

Liberating them from the LTTE was the main aim of the humanitarian missions in the East that followed the LTTE’s closure of the Mavilaru anicut. Now the entire Eastern Province has been liberated from the LTTE. Development work is underway in a province which has not seen much progress in two decades.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has stressed the need to liberate the Northern masses from the LTTE in a similar manner.

The Lankan Government alone cannot fight terrorism, which is a global phenomenon. The LTTE has spread its tentacles everywhere and is engaged in extorting the Tamil diaspora to raise funds. It maintains close links with many other terrorists groups around the world.

Sri Lanka has constantly called for cohesive global action against terrorism on a variety of fronts. It is now up to the international community to respond positively to this call, bearing in mind that terrorism anywhere affects humanity everywhere.

Action against people smuggling

OUR FIRST editorial focused on the scourge of terrorism, which manifested in a most horrendous form in Pakistan yesterday. But there is an equally disturbing phenomenon which is yet to receive the world’s attention. That is the menace of human trafficking, in which many terror groups and organised criminal gangs are involved.

Almost every week we hear of instances where these people smugglers desert their charges on the high seas. Asians and Africans lured by the prospect of a better life in the West fall prey to their machinations and pay thousands of Dollars for an illegal passage. They are forced to travel thousands of kilometres in almost subhuman conditions in cramped rust buckets passing off as ‘ships’.

Most of them never realise their dreams as law enforcement authorities in the intended destinations round them up well before reaching the shore and detain them in camps. Only a few are ever granted refugee status.

Rather than letting that happen, most countries are now taking action to catch would be illegal migrants at home. Sri Lanka regularly rounds up Sri Lankans and other South Asians who seek to literally take the plunge to the West at several ports and fishery harbours around the island.

An even more effective step would be creating awareness among would-be illegal migrants on the dangers of undertaking a perilous journey into the unknown. This is exactly what the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has been doing in collaboration with the Police.

It is thus heartening to note that the US Government has come forward to help the IOM in their effort to stem human trafficking by training 500 law enforcement officers.

In the long run, Sri Lanka should develop a national policy to combat trafficking in persons and formulate programmes with Western and affluent Asian countries to secure more jobs for Lankans so that avenues would be opened for legal migration. In the meantime, vigilance must be maintained to stop those seeking illegal passage to greener pastures.

Sri Lanka: A ‘Foot Soldier’ in the battle against terrorism

ONE MUST be conscious that in taking action against the LTTE foreign governments are not merely helping Sri Lanka, but they are also acting in their self-interest, for it is well-known that the LTTE’s global terror network which has links to other terrorist organizations such as United Liberation Front of Assam, the Afghan Mujahideen, the Kurdish Workers Party, the Maoists, Abu Sayaf, Moro National Liberation Front and to the Al-Qaeda

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The lesser known north-east monsoon

A LA NINA, the opposite of an El Nino, is generally beneficial for the south-west monsoon but could it weaken the north-east monsoon? As the south-west monsoon draws to a close, the direction of the surface winds change and the stage is set for the north-east monsoon. Much of the country is heavily dependent on the south-west monsoon for most of its annual rainfall.

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Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas

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