The United Nations’ Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery today added his voice to the chorus of alarm at reports that more than 200 civilians had been killed and thousands more displaced during the past two months in fresh fighting between Government forces and Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka.
In a statement issued by his office in New York, Eric Schwartz said he was “deeply disturbed” by the reports from the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission of rising bloodshed in the South Asian country, where some 35,000 people were killed and more than 500,000 others displaced by the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004.
“In parts of the north and east, the tsunami recovery process has ground to a halt, and significant investments in reconstruction, so generously supported by donors around the world, are now imperilled,” he said in the statement.
“More importantly, many thousands of civilians are at grave risk, cut off from regular supplies of food and other assistance.”
Mr. Schwartz urged all parties to the conflict between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to ease restrictions on access to the affected civilian population and to end hostilities and resume negotiations.
Last month Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery and former United States President Bill Clinton and several UN human rights rapporteurs deplored the recent series of attacks.