6th August 2015
His Excellency Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
UNOG-OHCHR 8-14 Rue de la Paix CH-1211
Geneva 10 Switzerland
ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ISSUES AND LIVING CATASTROPHE IN THE NORTHERN PROVINCE-(SRILANKA)
Greetings to Your Excellency, and the panel of Experts who report to you on Global Human Rights issues. I humbly wish to make a submission of the true situation in the Northern Province (NP) of SriLanka, in line with the UN resolutions on Human Rights and environmental management.
I am a Tamil migrant, 72+ year’s age, a retired Director & Specialist Power Systems Engineer, originally from SriLanka, and a citizen of Australia, who left SriLanka in 1977 for reasons of concern.
North is a province, which Tamils claim for separation. The province habitation is less than a million Tamils. My focus is mainly on waste management issues, and contamination of portable water with engine oil. This could be considered a serious Human Rights Violation, as people affected are certain people and not the so called, “elites”.
I have written letters to the Minister responsible for Environment, Mr. Ponnuthurai Ayngaranesan, Chief Minister and a Councillor, Mr. Angajan Ramanathan on this issue, however, they are not at all interested in taking any measures to bring about a solution. I submitted papers on waste management techniques, and oil reclamation procedures and methods to Mr. Angajan Ramanathan, the Councillor.
1. Hospital Waste-Infectious and Non-Infectious Disposal
The Base, General hospital wastes has been dumped into a place called, “Kallundai”. This place is just 2-3 miles from the main city of Jaffna. There are people living around this area. Fisherman’s boats leave from this embankment. Several years ago people also visit this embankment to purchase sea foods.
The carelessness, negligence and carefree attitude of the hospital waste management procedure is alarming where the infectious and other wastes are dumped at this site. It is not known as to who should be questioned on this issue. However, the Provincial Administration has a Minister for Environment, and he should be held responsible for the carefree attitude of waste disposal, which lead citizens to live in an unhealthy infectious environment.
The Chief Minister, Minister for Environment and the group of Councillors total 38 in numbers. None of the members are interested in taking action on this issue. However, politically they are only interested in keeping their seats tight for re-election, and embarked on hollering for more power and propagate separatism. GOSL allocated funds for projects, however, NPC has not spent the funds fully to complete major projects. The politicians are only interested in keeping their seat in parliament and prepare strategy to proliferate lies for the next election.
The photograph appended below exhibits the true situation.
A young child was bit to death by stray dogs, which loiter around the waste disposal area. The Province has a University which awards degrees and post graduate degrees. The Vice Chancellor has a doctorate degree in Chemistry, with Professors and Senior Lecturers with PhDs.
The provincial administration has several department. However, with all the knowledge and experience, and competency if they possess, it is astonishing to note no one wants to talk about this issue and take any corrective action.
This could be considered a serious Human Rights Violation because only a section of the community is subject to infections and poor living conditions. Having written various letters to NPC in vain, it has become necessary to bring this to the supreme body of the globe, the UN. It is hopefully expected that as Human Rights Commissioner of the supreme body, you will refer this matter to the Committee and question the NPC on the failure to take corrective action.
2. Disposal of waste engine oil
The head of Chunnakam farming organisation has informed to the media noticing oil contamination in water in 2008. Then no action was taken. Subsequently Dr. Murali Vallipuranathan also wrote a letter to the NPC Minister. (Ref: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/water-pollution-at-chunnakam-surrounding-areas/). The letter from the doctor explains fully.
As said earlier the province has a university which could do the analysis. Chunnakam is a fertile area with red soil suitable for farming. Even domestic dwellers do backyard vegetation.
If the Provincial administration does not take care of the environment, how could they keep up the economic growth of the province?
Things are being hushed up and not transparent. It is also astonishing to note that none of the Tamil Diaspora bodies are interested in raising their eye brows. They are only interested in more power and authority, but not practical execution.
Even the Tamil parliamentarians are not interested in the affair, however, demand more power, indicating power avidity.
I wish to make a strong point of view. Tamil Diaspora has various forums around the western world, such as, British Tamil Forum, Global Tamil Forum, Canadian Tamil Congress, US Orgs, Australian Tamil Congress and the illegal Trans National Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), and so on. To date none of this organisation has ever talked about this serious human rights violation or protested to the NPC on the lack of action. The organisations are only interested in calling for war crime investigation, more power, self-determination, and secession, while people in the North live in hazardous conditions.
I have appended below a few links to this topic.
It is a polite request that since this is a serious human rights violation, your Excellency should question the Northern Provincial Council administration on the outcome and why such inhuman actions are being practiced by Tamil administration.
Kanthar P Balanathan