Posts Tagged ‘Vanni’

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Sri Lanka: UN expert calls for ‘humanitarian pause’ to save trapped civilians

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

[UN News Centre]

“I am deeply concerned for the lives of over 100,000 civilians trapped in the 14-square kilometre area of the Vanni declared by the Government of Sri Lanka as a no-fire zone, Walter Kälin, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Representative for the Human Rights of Displaced Persons said following a four-day visit to the island nation. “I believe that a series of humanitarian pauses must be initiated immediately to allow civilians to leave and humanitarian actors to provide life-saving relief to the remaining population,” he said.

[Full Story]

Sri Lanka patients tell of shooting, shelling and trapped relatives

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

[Doctors Without Borders]

As heavy fighting continues in northern Sri Lanka, over 200,000 civilians remain trapped in the conflict in the Vanni region. But, over the past few weeks, some 35,000 people have managed to flee to the city of Vavuniya, 80 km south of the conflict zone. They tell of a beleaguered population living under constant threat of shelling and surrounded by the bodies of the dead and wounded. Food and drinking water are scare, and there is almost no access to medical care. Here are some of their stories.

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Sri Lanka: End ‘War’ on Civilians

Friday, February 20th, 2009

[Human Rights Watch]

The Sri Lankan government should immediately cease its indiscriminate artillery attacks on civilians in the northern Vanni region and its policy of detaining displaced persons in internment camps, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Since early January 2009, civilian casualties have skyrocketed in the fighting between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

[Full Story]

Tamil journalist killed in bombardment amounting to “war crime”

Monday, February 16th, 2009

[Reporters Without Borders]

Reporters Without Borders today expressed revulsion at the death of a Tamil journalist in a Sri Lankan Army bombardment on the north of the country, which it described as a “war crime”. Punniyamurthy Sathyamurthy was killed during an air raid on 12 February on Thevipuram, Mullaithivu district in the region of Vanni, being fought over by the army and rebel Tamil Tigers (LTTE). He had recently filed news of the plight of civilians in the latest wave of fighting. “Army air strikes and artillery fire on areas where there are tens of thousands of civilians, including Tamil journalists, are war crimes” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

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Calls for temporary truce and humanitarian corridors in Sri Lanka

Friday, February 6th, 2009

[Amnesty International]

Amnesty International has called on the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to immediately declare a temporary humanitarian truce and create humanitarian corridors. This would allow more than a quarter of a million civilians trapped in the Wanni region to escape the ongoing war and also let food, water, and medical assistance reach these civilians who cannot leave. Amnesty International also demanded that the Sri Lankan government ensure that displaced people who have fled the conflict zone to transit centres do not face improper restriction on their movement and are kept safe.

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UN: Cluster bombs hit hospital in Sri Lanka

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

[AP]

Cluster bombs struck the last functioning hospital in Sri Lanka’s northern war zone Wednesday, the U.N. said, as the country’s president declared that the military has nearly crushed a 25-year Tamil rebellion for a separate homeland. U.N. spokesman Gordon Weiss said 15 U.N. staffers and 81 family members are trapped in the Puthukkudiyiruppu area, where the hospital was hit by cluster bombs. He said 90 percent of patients have been evacuated to the north including critically injured patients and the medical staff. “The last remaining medical facility inside the Vanni pocket has been effectively closed,” he said. Vanni is the area where the remaining fighting is taking place.

[Full Story]

ANC media statement on the crisis in Sri Lanka

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

[ANC]

The African National Congress (ANC) expresses its very serious concern at the unfolding humanitarian crisis that is emerging on the Island of Sri Lanka.

The United Nations International Red Cross Committee has reported that over 300 000 civilians of Tamil origin are caught in the crossfire in the war that is currently raging in Sri Lanka between the fighters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who have retreated into the jungles of The Vanni in the north of the Island.

This liberation war between the Tamil Tigers for self determination and the Sri Lankan Government has been going on for well over 27 years and has resulted in the deaths of hundreds and thousands of civilians from both sides of the conflict and much destruction in the country.

The continued conflict in Sri Lanka has been cited on the “human rights watch” international monitoring mechanisms as a conflict now reaching genocidal proportions.

The ANC urges all parties in the conflict, both the LTTE and the Sri lankan Government to call a halt, immediately institute a ceasefire and allow humanitarian aid to be brought to civilians caught in the conflict who are in dire need of assistance. The ANC calls on all political players to immediately return to the negotiating table and resume a peaceful process of finding a lasting political solution to the conflict.

Issued by:
Carl Niehaus
National Spokesperson

Natalie Samarasinghe: Rulers in Colombo must reach out to the whole island

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

[ The Independent ]

“People throughout the country are brimming with patriotic fervour,” read the front page of yesterday’s Sri Lanka Daily News. It is unlikely that any of them are located in the Wanni region, where an estimated 250,000 civilians are trapped as the government advances on the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE), otherwise known as the Tamil Tigers. But it is difficult to verify much of what is reported on Sri Lanka. A successful raid on a LTTE training camp wiping out 50 cadres becomes the brutal bombing of 200 schoolchildren. The assassination of a leading newspaper editor becomes an international conspiracy to divert attention from the government’s military victories.

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Displaced Priests, Nuns In Battle Zone Appeal To United Nations To Stop The Fighting

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

[UCAN]

Catholic clergy and Religious, fearing a “great human tragedy” in northern Sri Lanka, have asked U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to call on their government to stop the war and put an end to the suffering of civilians. In a letter titled “SOS - Agonizing Cry of the People of Vanni,” Father James Pathinathar called for U.N. intervention on behalf of civilians trapped in the government military offensive against Tamil rebels in the Vanni jungle region, 250 kilometers north of Colombo. Father Pathinathar, parish priest of St. Peter’s Church in Mullaithivu, has been forced to take refuge at another church due to the fighting. He appeals for negotiations and a humane, just and lasting political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.

[Full Story]

War at what Cost?

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

[CNN]

An Excerpt from this Blog entry by M.I.A. on the genocidal conflict going on in Sri Lanka:

“Just last month, the New York-based Genocide Prevention Project released a report that listed Sri Lanka among the top eight “red alert” countries currently experiencing genocide conflicts. And Human Rights Watch estimates that between 230,000 to 300,000 Tamil people have been trapped in the Vanni conflict zone by the government, denied food and basic living essentials.

Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that no one knows how severe the crisis is because the Sri Lankan government has barred foreign media from reporting on the subject and severely limited the presence of humanitarian organizations. And worse, as demonstrated by the recent murder of Lasantha Wickramatunga, a Sri Lankan journalist critical of the war against the LTTE, those that question the government are putting their lives in jeopardy.”

[Full Story]

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