Sri Lankan Tamils on hunger strike in Oslo
Some 20 Sri Lankan Tamils held a hunger strike Wednesday outside Norway’s government offices which they blocked for the second straight day, urging Oslo to act in its role as mediator in the Sri Lankan conflict.world Updated: Apr 08, 2009 19:59 IST
Some 20 Sri Lankan Tamils held a hunger strike Wednesday outside Norway’s government offices which they blocked for the second straight day, urging Oslo to act in its role as mediator in the Sri Lankan conflict.
Norwegian television showed the hunger strikers camping out under tents raised in front of the office of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who is currently on holiday.
“Norway has let us down,” the Tamils shouted.
The demonstrators demanded to meet with a senior government official and urged Norway to call an emergency meeting of Sri Lanka’s aid donors to bring an end to the government’s offensive against a rebel holdout in the northeastern part of the island.
Norway mediated a now-defunct ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in February 2002.
Oslo has served as mediator since 2000 at the request of both sides, but its role has diminished sharply since Colombo announced the end of the ceasefire in January 2008.
On Tuesday, the demonstrators in Oslo handed a written appeal to a Norwegian government representative demanding an immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka.
The document also called for an end to bombings, authorisation for humanitarian organisations to work on the ground and the dispatch of international observers in the conflict zone.
The Sri Lanka conflict has left more than 70,000 people dead in the past 37.