Full text of the press release issued by TRO's Headquarters in Kilinochchi:
31 January 2006
23:00 Sri Lanka Time
2nd Group Missing: Pre School Teachers and Administrators Disappear en route from Batticaloa District
The following Pre School Education Development Center (PSEDC) personnel and their driver have been reported missing to Colombo:
- Mr. Kasinathar Ganeshalingam: PSEDC North-East Province Secretary
- Ms. S. Dosini: PSEDC Divisional Coordinator Mamunai North Division
- Ms. Nadeswari: Pre-School Teacher, Vavunatheevu Pre School
- Ms. Chithravel Sivamathi: Pre School Teacher Vavunatheevu Pre School
- Driver: Thangarasa
- Vehicle Number: WP PA 3074, PSEDC vehicle donated by TRO USA
These TRO and PSEDC personnel had traveled from Kilinochchi to the Batticaloa District to carry out the final assessment of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) funded Temporary Pre School Construction Project for Tsunami Welfare Centers (15 pre schools throughout the East) and to evaluate the progress of the construction of Permanent Tsunami Pre Schools funded by Save the Children in Sri Lanka (36 pre schools throughout the NorthEast).
The appraisal team was to have returned to Kilinochchi in time for a meeting at the Kilinochchi FORUT office on the morning of Tuesday 31 January 2006. TRO Kilinochchi informed TRO Colombo of the team’s failure to attend the meeting late in the afternoon of 31 January 2006 at which point TRO Batticaloa was contacted and inquiries were made as to the team’s where location.
TRO Colombo was informed that the team had left Valaichchenai, Batticaloa District at approximately 7 pm (19:00 hours Sri Lanka Time) on Sunday 29 January 2006. That was the last that anyone has heard of the team.
TRO requests that the Police, Government of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), the ICRC, Embassies and Civil Society urgently investigate these missing humanitarian workers.
In light of the disappearance of these five (5) persons and the internationally highlighted abduction of five (5) other TRO personnel who were traveling from Batticaloa on Monday 30 January 2006 it appears that a campaign of Terror has been unleashed on TRO personnel in the NorthEast.
The Pre School Education Development Center (PSEDC) is an organization that is funded by TRO and implements projects in partnership with Save the Children in Sri Lanka, FORUT and UNICEF. PSEDC supervises the operation and coordinates the activities of Pre Schools in the NorthEast. The organization assures that pre schools in the NorthEast meet the minimum standards as set forth by the government of Sri Lanka. PSEDC also trains teachers and serves as a coordinating agency that ensures that there is a bottom up design and management of the pre school education of the children of all communities in the NorthEast. The PSEDC works closely with the Provincial Education Ministry and the Social Welfare Ministry.
The PSEDC coordinates the activities of 2,990, 5.318 pre school teachers, and 87,045 children in the NorthEast and provides a valuable education for the children of all communities and works with all communities without regard to race, ethnicity, language group, religion, caste or any other basis.