Posts Tagged ‘aid workers’

Editorial: No Victory in Sri Lanka

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

[New York Times]

Even after declaring victory in Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war, the country’s leaders seem unable to distinguish between the enemy — the brutal but apparently vanquished Tamil Tiger separatists — and innocent bystanders. Despite appeals from Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, and from others, the government has not given international aid organizations full access to government-run camps, where an estimated 280,000 civilians are said to be in desperate need of food, water and medical care. The Tamil Tigers have a history of using civilians as human shields and the government claims it must screen out rebels hiding in the camps. But aid workers suspect other motives, including a desire to deny access to witnesses who may have seen abuses by government forces.

[Full Story]

UN chief in S Lanka civilian plea

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

[BBC]

Visiting top UN humanitarian official John Holmes has urged Sri Lanka’s army and the Tamil Tigers to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties. The government says the Tigers are using human shields, but the rebels say civilians are seeking their protection. This is Mr Holmes’s first visit since 2007 when his comment that Sri Lanka was one of the most dangerous places in the world for aid workers sparked government anger and drew a rebuke from the prime minister.

[Full Story]

Sri Lanka quarantines conflict zone

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

[Toronto Star]

Sri Lanka - After a civil war that has lasted more than a quarter-century, the Sri Lankan government can sense victory against its long-time nemesis, the Tamil Tigers. But Sri Lanka doesn’t want the world to know how it routed its enemy in the northern part of this island. The government has practically shut down access to aid workers, diplomats and reporters. The government refused a request yesterday by the Swiss and Dutch ambassadors to go on a humanitarian fact-finding mission to the country’s war-affected region, a senior foreign diplomat told the Star.

[Full Story]

Questions still haunt Sri Lanka aid massacre

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

[Reuters]
<!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Calibri; mso-font-alt:”Century Gothic”; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:swiss; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-1610611985 1073750139 0 0 159 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:”"; margin-top:0in; margin-right:0in; margin-bottom:10.0pt; margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} –>
/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-parent:”";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-ansi-language:#0400;
mso-fareast-language:#0400;
mso-bidi-language:#0400;}

I remember the stench from the bloated corpses of the 17 dead Sri Lankan aid workers in the hospital and the cries of their families outside as I wondered if I had shaken the hands of their killers. Last week, a local human rights group detailed the hours before and after the murder of local tsunami workers in August 2006 and I’m asking the same question again. The workers from international aid group Action Contre la Faim (ACF) were gunned down in their compound at close range, the bullet wounds clearly visible on their bodies.

[Full Story]

Sri Lanka accused over massacre

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

[BBC]

A human rights group in Sri Lanka has blamed local security forces for the massacre of 17 aid workers in 2006 and accused the government of a cover-up. The bodies of the Action Against Hunger workers were found in the north-eastern town of Muttur. It was one of the worst attacks on humanitarian workers since the 2003 bombing of the UN compound in Baghdad. Meanwhile, another human rights group has shut down, after accusing Colombo of failing to tackle rights issues. So far there has been no response from the government to both developments.

[Full Story]

Sri Lankan probe into civilian killings has few results after 18 months of work

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

[AP]

Nearly 18 months after Sri Lanka launched an independent investigation into a wave of civilian killings during its renewed civil war, not a single case has been resolved, and some human rights groups and lawyers fear no one will ever be held accountable.

A credible probe into the incidents, including the slaying of 17 aid workers blamed on security forces, will test the government’s will to pursue potentially embarrassing cases and strengthen its efforts to prevent the dispatch of a U.N. human rights monitoring mission.

[Full Story]

Family of Sri Lanka massacre victims doubt justice

Monday, March 24th, 2008

[Reuters]

Relatives of 17 aid workers massacred in Sri Lanka said on Monday they did not expect justice as a heated human rights inquiry began into their execution-style murders more than a year ago. Ravi Shantha, the aunt of one of the Action Contre la Faim (ACF) aid workers killed in August 2006 in the northeastern town of Muttur, told a panel of judges appointed to investigate rights abuses in Sri Lanka that too much time had passed. “I don’t trust that I will be given justice in this case,” Shantha said to Reuters after giving evidence about the last known movements of her nephew Ambigavathy Jayaseelan.

[Full Story]