Photo Courtesy of the Daily Mirror.
5 August 2013
The Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JSAPMDD) strongly condemns the violent dispersal by Sri Lanka's military of the peaceful demonstrators fighting for clean and safe water in the village of Weliveriya just outside Colombo last August 1.
Three people were killed including two school children and at least 15 others were injured as military men fired live bullets at protesters fleeing from the teargas used to disperse the 5,000 people-strong demonstration who demanded action against the Venigros Gloves Factory for polluting the drinking water of about 12 villages.
By deploying the military, the Sri Lankan government in effect attacked its own citizenry as they exercised their human and democratic rights to free speech and assembly. It showed the callousness of government towards the welfare of the people who continue to suffer the adverse impacts of Venigros' polluting activities on their health, water supply and food crops. It clearly highlights where the Sri Lankan government's loyalties lie – not in upholding the interests of grassroots people and communities, but in protecting that of business interests and profit.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Weliveriya and other affected villages in protesting companies like Venigros and fighting for a basic human right to clean, affordable and adequate water.
We join other voices demanding justice for the victims of military violence and in calling for an immediate, transparent and independent investigation of the violent acts committed. Those responsible must be held accountable and redress must be provided those who suffered from this grossly undemocratic act.
We call on the government of Sri Lanka uphold its people's interests over corporate interests and to take immediate steps to ensure that the people's right to water is upheld and fulfilled.
Today, countries the world over celebrate UN World Water Day 2012, around the themes of water and food security. But for Asia, which wears the face of global hunger and poverty with about two-thirds of the world's 1.3 billion poor people residing in the region, it is not a celebration but rather a clarion call to action and resistance against the increasingly predatory moves of private corporations and the North governments behind them.