Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

17 April 2009

Immediate humanitarian truce needed in Sri Lanka to help trapped civilians

Immediate humanitarian truce needed in Sri Lanka to help trapped civilians
An official two-day ceasefire in Sri Lanka which ended on Wednesday has not helped to end the suffering of around 100,000 civilians trapped in the conflict zone.

According to media reports, John Holmes, the United Nations (UN) under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, said that the 48-hour break in hostilities to allow aid in and civilians out was "inadequate".

As fighting intensifies in Sri Lanka, Amnesty International has called on the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to declare an immediate temporary humanitarian truce, so that desperate civilians can escape to safety.

The UK, France and India are also said to have called on Sri Lanka to offer another truce to the LTTE.

The UN has reported that the Tamil Tiger fighters killed six civilians trying to flee the conflict zone during the ceasefire. The organization also said in March that more than 2,800 civilians had been killed and more than 7,000 injured since the beginning of the year.

Civilians still trapped in the Wanni in the north-eastern part of Sri Lanka, require urgent humanitarian aid as reports emerge that food and medical supplies are running low.

All reports from the conflict zone are impossible to verify as the area has, in effect, been sealed off by the Sri Lankan government, denying access to aid workers and independent human rights observers.

Amnesty International contacted two medical workers at the main hospital in the no-fire zone, who described a scene of chaos, with the hospital running out of anaesthetic, surgical blades and basic medications.

One medical worker reported that 92 injured civilians had been brought to the hospital on Thursday and that fighting was intensifying. Another medical worker reported 75 casualties had arrived at the hospital with gunshot wounds on Wednesday and that at least 12 civilians were killed.

"The human misery and desperation is rising and has now reached alarming proportion," said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International's Asia Pacific Director.

"We call on all parties to the conflict to make sure that civilians are not put further at risk and for international observers such as the UN to ensure that a real ceasefire is implemented.

"To avoid further bloodshed the Tamil Tigers must let civilians move to areas of safety and the government must extend the ceasefire."

Read More

Renewed calls for humanitarian truce in Sri Lanka (News, 27 March 2009)
More civilians killed in Sri Lanka fighting
(News, 10 February 2009)
Call for a truce in Sri Lanka as humanitarian situation deteriorates
(News, 6 February 2009)
Sri Lanka: Cluster bomb strike on hospital is despicable (Press release, 4 February 2009)
Civilians trapped by Sri Lanka conflict (News, 28 January 2009)
Sri Lanka: Media must be allowed to work freely and safely (Press release, 23 January 2009)
India urged to raise human rights issues in Sri Lanka (New, 15 January 2009
Sri Lankan government must act now to protect 300,000 displaced (News, 19 November 2008)
Tens of thousands at risk in Sri Lanka as fighting escalates (News, 19 August 2008)

 

Issue

Armed Conflict 
Armed Groups 
Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes 
Extrajudicial Executions And Other Unlawful Killings 
Medical And Health 
Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants 
United Nations 

Country

Sri Lanka 

Region

Asia And The Pacific 

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