Sri Lanka: Top UN relief official calls on Government, rebels to protect civilians

27 April 2006

With violence intensifying between the Government and Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka, the top United Nations relief official today called on both sides to ensure full protection of civilians on the Indian Ocean island, where over 300,000 people have already been uprooted from their homes by the conflict.

With violence intensifying between the Government and Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka, the top United Nations relief official today called on both sides to ensure full protection of civilians on the Indian Ocean island, where over 300,000 people have already been uprooted from their homes by the conflict.

“The loss of life, the new displacement of families, the destruction to businesses and property, as well as threats to humanitarian workers, are creating a climate of fear and tension for civilians,” Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland said of the violence which has claimed over 100 lives and displaced thousands in recent weeks.

“It is imperative that the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance and tsunami operations in these vulnerable areas continue unabated,” he added in a reference to the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which killed some 30,000 people and displaced scores of thousands of others.

“Civilians continue to suffer and I fear that if the situation is not controlled, communal violence will again occur and aggravate further the tensions between the communities.”

He appealed to both the Government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to protect civilians. “I also appeal to them to enable humanitarian relief to be provided to the affected population,” he added.

 

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