UN sending mission to Sri Lankan conflict zone, but will they be allowed in?

Yesterday, I wrote that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had announced that a U.N. humanitarian team would be sent to the conflict zone in Sri Lanka to assess the situation and try to protect the trapped civilians.  This was apparently with the agreement of the Sri Lankan President.

Well, today, the Sri Lankan Human Rights Minister said at a press conference that intense fighting between the army and the opposition Tamil Tigers in the conflict zone was making it “virtually impossible” to allow any U.N. staff to visit the zone.  The U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said today that the U.N. had an “agreement in principle” with the government for a team to visit the zone, while another U.N. official reported today that a U.N. team had traveled to the north of the country but hadn’t yet received permission to enter the conflict zone.

Of course, no one wants to endanger the lives of the U.N. team by putting them in the middle of the crossfire.  So, we need a pause in the fighting to allow the team in to do their workThe Sri Lankan government and the Tigers must immediately agree to that and to cooperate with the U.N. team.

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18 thoughts on “UN sending mission to Sri Lankan conflict zone, but will they be allowed in?

  1. As suggested by Jim in one of his emails, I have checked this entry by him. I would like to draw everybody's attention to the following part of the entry:
    "Of course, no one wants to endanger the lives of the U.N. team by putting them in the middle of the crossfire. So, we need a pause in the fighting to allow the team in to do their work. The Sri Lankan government and the Tigers must immediately agree to that and to cooperate with the U.N. team."

    We, anyone who has some idea about what is going on in Sri Lanka at the moment, are quite aware that LTTE (Tigers) are appealing for a pause in fighting, understandably as they are on the verge of losing the war. Therefore I find it laughable to read that Jim is asserting that Tigers should immediately agree to a pause in fighting!

  2. As suggested by Jim in one of his emails, I have checked this entry by him. I would like to draw everybody’s attention to the following part of the entry:
    “Of course, no one wants to endanger the lives of the U.N. team by putting them in the middle of the crossfire. So, we need a pause in the fighting to allow the team in to do their work. The Sri Lankan government and the Tigers must immediately agree to that and to cooperate with the U.N. team.”

    We, anyone who has some idea about what is going on in Sri Lanka at the moment, are quite aware that LTTE (Tigers) are appealing for a pause in fighting, understandably as they are on the verge of losing the war. Therefore I find it laughable to read that Jim is asserting that Tigers should immediately agree to a pause in fighting!

  3. In response to Mahesh Rajasuriya's message, I understand why the LTTE have declared a unilateral ceasefire and would want a pause in the fighting. I'm well aware of how they've used prior ceasefires to regroup and re-arm and then go back to war. But the question is: as the LTTE-held area continues to shrink, how do you avoid thousands of civilian casualties if the government simply keeps fighting? The reason to call for a pause in the fighting is to avoid the civilian casualties.

  4. In response to Mahesh Rajasuriya’s message, I understand why the LTTE have declared a unilateral ceasefire and would want a pause in the fighting. I’m well aware of how they’ve used prior ceasefires to regroup and re-arm and then go back to war. But the question is: as the LTTE-held area continues to shrink, how do you avoid thousands of civilian casualties if the government simply keeps fighting? The reason to call for a pause in the fighting is to avoid the civilian casualties.

  5. Sorry, Jim, but it makes me laugh again. Let me put it in a simpler format:

    1. LTTE (Tigers) have almost lost the war.
    2. LTTE (Tigers) are appealing for a pause in fighting.
    3. Jim McDonald says that LTTE (Tigers) should immediately agree to a pause in fighting.
    4. I find it a laughable matter.

    Please do not be confused by questions I did not ask. I can ask more questions about your response to my comment, but I do not want to complicate the matter further.

    If you could not understand my previous comment fully, my apologies.

  6. Sorry, Jim, but it makes me laugh again. Let me put it in a simpler format:

    1. LTTE (Tigers) have almost lost the war.
    2. LTTE (Tigers) are appealing for a pause in fighting.
    3. Jim McDonald says that LTTE (Tigers) should immediately agree to a pause in fighting.
    4. I find it a laughable matter.

    Please do not be confused by questions I did not ask. I can ask more questions about your response to my comment, but I do not want to complicate the matter further.

    If you could not understand my previous comment fully, my apologies.

  7. If you read some of my other posts to this blog, you'll see that I'm not advocating only a pause in hostilities, but also that both sides allow civilians to leave the war zone. Sorry if this wasn't clear.

  8. If you read some of my other posts to this blog, you’ll see that I’m not advocating only a pause in hostilities, but also that both sides allow civilians to leave the war zone. Sorry if this wasn’t clear.

  9. An observer had this comment about my previous response to you:

    "This was a what is good about responses such as yours. It puts the writer on the defensive too. And his whole argument suddenly becomes visible as shallow."

    Cheers.

  10. An observer had this comment about my previous response to you:

    “This was a what is good about responses such as yours. It puts the writer on the defensive too. And his whole argument suddenly becomes visible as shallow.”

    Cheers.

  11. In response to Mahesh's comments, I don't mind if people think I'm being put "on the defensive" or if my argument is perceived as "shallow." I'm not the point of this discussion. The safety of the civilians in the northeast of Sri Lanka, both those trapped in the war zone and those've who fled already, is the point. I'd suggest that people review AI's urgent action appeal on Sri Lanka which came out this past Friday (and is available on the AIUSA website), to see what we're calling for from both the government and the LTTE. Of course, I'd also ask the everyone consider writing to the government and the LTTE as the appeal requests.

  12. In response to Mahesh’s comments, I don’t mind if people think I’m being put “on the defensive” or if my argument is perceived as “shallow.” I’m not the point of this discussion. The safety of the civilians in the northeast of Sri Lanka, both those trapped in the war zone and those’ve who fled already, is the point. I’d suggest that people review AI’s urgent action appeal on Sri Lanka which came out this past Friday (and is available on the AIUSA website), to see what we’re calling for from both the government and the LTTE. Of course, I’d also ask the everyone consider writing to the government and the LTTE as the appeal requests.

  13. why does amnesty peep in at times when srilanka is on verge of a solution. they cant say anything to terrorist organisations like LTTE, because they know its wasting time . AIUSA only fights with duly elected governments ?

  14. why does amnesty peep in at times when srilanka is on verge of a solution. they cant say anything to terrorist organisations like LTTE, because they know its wasting time . AIUSA only fights with duly elected governments ?