Posts Tagged ‘bbc’

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Sri Lanka rejects Tigers’ offer

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

[BBC]

Sri Lanka’s defence secretary has rejected the Tamil Tigers’ offer to enter a democratic process after their military defeat by government forces. In an interview with the BBC, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said the LTTE rebels could not be trusted to give up “terrorism”. “I do not believe the LTTE can enter a democratic process after years of their violent activities,” Mr Rajapaksa said. The rebels had said they would give up violence after their leader was killed in recent fighting in the north-east. “I am not interested in LTTE at all,” the defence secretary - the most senior civilian official in charge of the war against the Tamil Tigers - told the BBC in a wide-ranging telephone interview. He said there were “enough democratic Tamil political parties in the country” to represent the Tamil minority.

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Sri Lanka rebels ‘call ceasefire’

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

[BBC]

Tamil rebels trapped in a tiny enclave of northern Sri Lanka have declared a ceasefire, a rebel spokesman says. The Tamil Tigers (LTTE) had given up their fight against a major government offensive and “decided to silence our guns”, he said on a pro-Tamil website. “This battle has reached its bitter end,” said Selvarasa Pathmanathan, the Tigers’ chief of international relations, in a statement on Tamilnet. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has already claimed victory in the 26-year war. A later statement on the Tamilnet website appeared to modify the rebel position.

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UN mourns Sri Lanka ‘bloodbath’

Monday, May 11th, 2009

[BBC]

The United Nations has described the situation in northern Sri Lanka as a “bloodbath” after reports of heavy civilian casualties at the weekend. UN spokesman in Colombo Gordon Weiss said more than 100 children died during the “large-scale killing of civilians”. On Sunday, a doctor working in the war zone said at least 378 people were killed by fierce shelling. Meanwhile, the military spokesman for the Tamil Tiger rebels, Ilanthirayan, has been seriously wounded in fighting.

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The plight of Sri Lankan refugees

Friday, May 8th, 2009

[ BBC ]

Tamil Tiger rebels holding out in a tiny sliver of north-east Sri Lanka have accused the government of stepping up heavy weapons attacks on them. They claim the attacks are killing civilians unable to get out of the war zone. The government says this is just propaganda from the rebels hoping to buy time. It is impossible to get independent verification of the situation inside the war zone, but tens of thousands of civilians are still believed to be trapped there.

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Sri Lanka rejects UN truce appeal

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

[BBC]

Sri Lanka has rejected a fresh appeal by the UN to give civilians more time to leave a safe zone in the north-east, the defence secretary says. Only a few hundred civilians used the two-day unilateral government truce with Tamil Tiger rebels to escape. Between 50,000 and 100,000 civilians are still thought to be trapped in the zone - about 20 sq km (8 sq miles) of coastal area in Mullaitivu district.

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Tamil protesters vent their fury

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

[BBC]

Hundreds of Tamil protesters camped out in Parliament Square, having been moved on from nearby Westminster Bridge, which they had blocked overnight with a mass sit-down demonstration. The police, who were filming the protest, have come in for criticism. Some protesters said officers had been heavy-handed in moving them on from Westminster Bridge. One told the BBC: “I’ve been in England for 10 years now and I’ve always respected the police. But now I have lost all of that respect. “The police are terrible in the way they have handled themselves. They are despicable.”

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Sri Lanka faces war ‘catastrophe’

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

[BBC]

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned of an impending humanitarian catastrophe in north-eastern Sri Lanka. Up to 150,000 people may be trapped in the area by fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels. The ICRC has reiterated calls for a mass evacuation of civilians and for far more aid to be allowed in. The ICRC’s Jacques de Maio said the situation was one of the worst disasters he had experienced.

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Sri Lanka in new truce rejection

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

[BBC]

The Sri Lankan government has rejected fresh calls for a temporary ceasefire with Tamil Tiger rebels. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told the BBC that if the rebels laid down their arms there would be no need for a halt in the fighting. Reports of growing civilian casualties have prompted the UN, European Union and India to urge a ceasefire. In a briefing to the UN Security Council a few days ago, its humanitarian chief, Sir John Holmes, said the restrictions on the movement of civilians into and out of the camps were unacceptable.

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International appeal for safety of Civilians

Friday, February 27th, 2009

[BBC]

UNHCR has requested the government to allocate more land for the Internally Displaced thousands who may cross over to government controled areas. “So far over thirty six thousand people have crossed over” Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Resettlement & Disaster Relief Services told the BBC. “UNHCR is urging the government to continue to make necessary preparations to receive and accommodate the large numbers expected in the coming weeks or months,” UNHCR spokesman William Spindler told journalists.

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Civilian ’slaughter’ in Sri Lanka

Friday, February 20th, 2009

[BBC]

The campaign group, Human Rights Watch, has accused the Sri Lankan army of “slaughter” and rebels of “brutality” towards civilians in the north-east. It called on the government to end its “indiscriminate artillery attacks” on civilians and its policy of “detaining displaced persons in internment camps”. Human Rights Watch also condemned the Tamil Tigers for “increased brutality” towards trapped civilians. The government and rebels both strongly deny targeting civilians. Top UN humanitarian official John Holmes is currently in Sri Lanka and is visiting camps of displaced civilians in the north-east.

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