United Nations agencies and their humanitarian partners operating on the ground in Sri Lanka have condemned the forcible removal of Tamil residents from the country’s capital, Colombo.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) country team in Sri Lanka said it was also disturbed by reports about the manner in which the removal operation was conducted.
“The Sri Lankan Constitution guarantees the freedom of movement and the right of every citizen to choose his or her place of residence in Sri Lanka,” the statement said. “There is an urgent need to ensure respect for basic liberties and security as well as freedom of movement in the country.”
The IASC, which comprises 24 UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups, said it welcomed the Supreme Court’s granting of an interim order to stop the evictions.
The committee “expects that the Government of Sri Lanka will abide by its constitutional and international commitments. The IASC appeals in the strongest possible terms that these legal obligations are upheld.”
The UN and its relief partners in the South Asian country have expressed increasing concern this year at the deteriorating situation amid fighting between Government forces and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Last week the IASC, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and two independent UN human rights experts condemned the recent murder of two workers from the Sri Lankan Red Cross.