Tamils call on Norway to act over Sri Lanka conflict
On April 10 about 400 hundred Tamils staged a demonstration in front of the Norwegian parliament in Oslo. They were calling on Norway to intervene and to halt the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil rebels.
Norway has tried to play a mediation role in the conflict, but other protests have been held here this week. Tamil demonstrators were stopped from getting to the offices of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday and Wednesday before they were received by State Secretary Raymond Johansen. Both Erik Solheim, Minister of the Environment and International Development, and Jens Stoltenberg were on Easter vacation.
Norway, which has acted as a mediator with the United States, European Union and Japan, on Thursday called for a truce between Sri Lankan government forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The army has launched an offensive to crush the Tamil Tigers and the United Nations has estimated that thousands of lives are at risk.
“Thousands of Tamils are dying and Norway must do something,” Godfrey Manoharan, a spokesman for the demonstrators, told Norwegian television. He said about 500 people had been killed in fighting since Wednesday. Norway helped broker one truce in 2002.
Tamils have also staged demonstrations in London over the conflict.