Red Cross: Sri Lankan war zone a "humanitarian catastrophe"

The International Committee of the Red Cross today described the Sri Lankan war zone as “an unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe.”  For the third consecutive day, the ICRC has been unable to evacuate seriously wounded or ill patients and deliver desperately needed food, due to ongoing combat in the area.  The U.N. reported today that fighting between government forces and the opposition Tamil Tigers was continuing with heavy casualties in the war zone, which is about the size of Central Park in New York.  The U.N. has continued its high-level involvement; it was announced that Secretary-General’s chief of staff would be sent to Sri Lanka to try to help resolve the humanitarian situation.

Despite statements by President Obama and the UN Security Council yesterday on the crisis, neither the Sri Lankan government nor the Tigers have agreed to a pause in the fighting in order to allow civilians to leave the war zone safely and to allow aid into the area.  Instead, both the Sri Lankan government and the Tigers appeared to welcome the parts of the statements that criticized the other side without agreeing to the commitments being asked of them.  The only good news I saw was a statement by the Sri Lankan government that over 3,300 civilians had escaped from the war zone today.

The Sri Lankan government has been engaged in a military offensive to reconquer territory held by the Tigers, which has been fighting for an independent state for the Tamil minority in the north and east of the island.  The military has now confined the Tigers to a small pocket of land in northeastern Sri Lanka.  Trapped with the Tigers are an estimated 50,000 or more civilians, who are being used by the Tigers as human shields and not allowed to leave the conflict area.

AI has called for an international commission of inquiry to investigate violations of international law by both sides.  The British government today supported that call.

We urgently need both the Sri Lankan government and the Tigers to halt the fighting, in order to allow civilians to leave the war zone and aid to get into the area.  Both sides should understand that the world is watching and they’ll be held to account for their actions.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

4 thoughts on “Red Cross: Sri Lankan war zone a "humanitarian catastrophe"

  1. What is it that you guys don’t understand? The Sri Lankan government gave the terrorist 48 hours in April to let the civilians go. The LTTE thugs didn’t take that opportunity to release the innocent people and that didn’t bother the thousands of Tamils who were demonstrating in London and Toronto at all. What makes you think that if the government stops fighting now, the LTTE is going to release the rest of the people. Are you guys brave enough to risk your lives and rescue the civilians? I don’t think so. You are good at staying at a safe distance and pointing fingers. Do you realize that the soldiers are sacrificing their lives to rescue these people? Not even the US and the British military has been able to do something like that – beat the evil and rescue the innocent at the same time.

  2. What is it that you guys don’t understand? The Sri Lankan government gave the terrorist 48 hours in April to let the civilians go. The LTTE thugs didn’t take that opportunity to release the innocent people and that didn’t bother the thousands of Tamils who were demonstrating in London and Toronto at all. What makes you think that if the government stops fighting now, the LTTE is going to release the rest of the people. Are you guys brave enough to risk your lives and rescue the civilians? I don’t think so. You are good at staying at a safe distance and pointing fingers. Do you realize that the soldiers are sacrificing their lives to rescue these people? Not even the US and the British military has been able to do something like that – beat the evil and rescue the innocent at the same time.

  3. NATION RELIGIONS KING

    Appeal to humanitarian

    Subject:Request for humanitarian in local and oversea to support the fund who take care of hemodialise of broken groin for Mr VAR VETHYEAR.If you want to help me.please sent money for me following address direct :

    Reason :My name Mr VAR VETHYEAR , Male ,39years old,I worked as professor Geography in Antaratévy high school ,Phnom Penh in cambodia , Address :No 60, street 313 ,group38,commune BoengKôk II ,DistrictTuol Kôk, Phnom Penh ,Cambodia.

    (T?:855/012 997 141/012460254Email # vethyear@yahoo.com).I hopeless in my life because my fammily is very poor and lose every thing to encourage me I can't continue to take care of my sick .

    As mention about object and reason I would like to inform all kind persons and humanitarians to support the fund to me that being hemodialise in CHEA SEIM changing blood center in two times a week . I changed one time to spend 50$ .If I change tube and spend 70 to 83$(spend 500 to 600$ per month) .

    I hope that you pay attention to support me because I'm very hopeless in my life .

    Please highly respected from me

    Phnom Penh ,le.23/05/2009

  4. NATION RELIGIONS KING

    Appeal to humanitarian

    Subject:Request for humanitarian in local and oversea to support the fund who take care of hemodialise of broken groin for Mr VAR VETHYEAR.If you want to help me.please sent money for me following address direct :

    Reason :My name Mr VAR VETHYEAR , Male ,39years old,I worked as professor Geography in Antaratévy high school ,Phnom Penh in cambodia , Address :No 60, street 313 ,group38,commune BoengKôk II ,DistrictTuol Kôk, Phnom Penh ,Cambodia.

    (T?:855/012 997 141/012460254Email # vethyear@yahoo.com).I hopeless in my life because my fammily is very poor and lose every thing to encourage me I can’t continue to take care of my sick .

    As mention about object and reason I would like to inform all kind persons and humanitarians to support the fund to me that being hemodialise in CHEA SEIM changing blood center in two times a week . I changed one time to spend 50$ .If I change tube and spend 70 to 83$(spend 500 to 600$ per month) .

    I hope that you pay attention to support me because I’m very hopeless in my life .

    Please highly respected from me

    Phnom Penh ,le.23/05/2009