Sri Lanka: UN official voices concern after another aid worker is slain

3 December 2008

The top United Nations humanitarian official in Sri Lanka today called on authorities to mount a thorough investigation into last week’s murder of an aid worker in the east of the violence-wracked country – the third staff member from the same relief group to have either disappeared or been killed in the Asian island nation.

Neil Buhne, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Sri Lanka, issued a statement condemning the shooting death of A. Vigneswaran, who worked for the Norwegian Refugee Council, by unknown gunmen in Batticaloa. He urged authorities to “vigorously pursue” the perpetrators.

“For humanitarian workers to meet their responsibilities fully, they must be able to work without fear,” he said. “A successful investigation resulting in the killer being brought to account would not only bring solace to Mr. Vigneswaran’s family and to his colleagues, it would reduce this fear and create a better environment for the more effective implementation of humanitarian programmes in Batticaloa benefiting tens of thousands of people.”

Thousands of Sri Lanka have been displaced from their homes or are now dependent on humanitarian aid as a result of continued fighting between Government forces and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

 

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