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Government Gazette

CCHA plays critical role in ensuring Humanitarian assistance to needy

The consultation committee for Humanitarian Assistance (CCHA) continues to play a pivotal role in providing affective humanitarian assistance in Sri Lanka said Chairman of the Committee Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe

The Minister was responding to certain comments in the media regarding the role of Consultative Committee for Humanitarian Assistance.

Minister Samarasinghe said the organization had played a critical role in ensuring humanitarian assistance to the most needy promptly and in a coordinated manner.

A recent newspaper article quoting a report by an Inter Agency Standing Committee questioned the effectiveness of CCHA in dealing with protection issues in the North and East.

The report had stated that while it appreciates the role of CCHA the protection issues were not adequately addressed.

The UN resident and humanitarian coordinator, Neil Buhne responding to the article has stated “since its creation in October 2006 the IASC has found the CCHA to be the most effective coordination mechanism open to the Government and international community”.

“Though both the main committee and sub committees dealing in assistance issues the CCHA has enhanced cooperation so that more people were reached more effectively through a range of humanitarian programs over the last 15 months” Buhne has said.

Minister Samarasinghe also noted that the Government had facilitated the visit of the UN Secretary General Representative on the human rights of IDPs Walter Kalin, demonstrating its consistent policy of openness, cooperation and constructive engagement with UN mechanisms.

During his visit he had commended the Government stating that considerable efforts had been made to assist the IDPs while noting the complexity of the displaced people in the country. He had also advised to make the efforts sustainable.

Commenting further on the role of CCHA Minister Samarasinghe emphasised that the Government’s priority in 2008 was to make mechanisms such as CCHA even more effective.

The CCHA enables international and Government partners to work together to consider and resolve key humanitarian issues, the Minister added.

The Minister emphasising his commitment stated “I am personally committed to ensuring the protection of all displaced Sri Lankans.

Mechanisms such as the CCHA allow stakeholders to be mindful of our security concerns, but at the same time ensure that they do not result in trade off in terms of human rights of conflict affected people” the Minister said.

The CCHA is a high level policy making forum represented by Government and includes secretaries of key Ministries including the Defence Secretary, heads of UN agencies, the EU representatives of the co-chairs and the ICRC.

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