After the 2004 Tsunami the UK public donated £390 million in charity to help victims. Over £100 million went to Sri Lanka without any discrimination about ethnicity. The Sri Lankan government just a few years after that engaged in horrific war crimes and slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians. Maybe even charity should be tied to human rights in the future – a Government should cut its military spending before it can be given aid, and armed groups lay down their arms. There was a great feeling of optimism that the disaster of the South Asian Boxing Day Tsunami might encourage an end to the bitter nasty conflict in Sri Lanka with atrocities committed by the Tamil Tigers and Government forces. The two sides might realise that helping people and living in peace to redevelop the whole island was a better way. That optimism was misplaced. Perhaps in the future Governments and opposing groups should have to demonstrate a commitment to peace and human rights before they can be given aid. And international aid agencies should not replace local and national authorities, or local organisations, but work with them directly – as much of the best of foreign aid does – to try and ensure aid cannot be abused to support sectarian or corrupt causes.
Sources on human rights abuses: 'No Fire Zone' Channel 4, UK, and any search of the BBC and reputable news sources. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/no-fire-zone
Sources on charity donations:
TSUNAMI EARTHQUAKE APPEAL
DEC Tsunami relief fund – Reports back on three year spending plan, 19/12/2007
South Asia: Independent evaluation of the DEC tsunami crisis response, 31 December 2005