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Posts Tagged ‘human shields’

By The Sunday Times

A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD Tamil girl with a severe leg injury was sharing a hospital bed yesterday with her elder sister, who had burns to her face. Their mother was dead and their father was in intensive care with a 50% chance of survival.

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By RAVI NESSMAN, Associated Press
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Indian officials took a demand for an immediate cease-fire in Sri Lanka’s civil war to the country’s president on Friday as the U.N. reported that nearly 6,500 ethnic Tamil civilians were killed in the last three months.
Concern for the safety of civilians trapped in the ever-shrinking war zone has increased in recent weeks as the government pushed ahead with its offensive to crush the rebels and end the nation’s quarter-century civil war.
The U.N. estimates that 50,000 people are still trapped in the war zone, spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said Friday.

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By James Traub, The Washington Post

At this moment, at least 60,000 civilians trapped in a tiny strip of land along the northern coast of Sri Lanka are being deployed as human shields by the insurgent force known as the Tamil Tigers — while artillery shells fired by the Sri Lankan army land indiscriminately among rebels and noncombatants alike. The United Nations asserts that at least 4,500 civilians have been killed since January as the government has sought to decisively end a bloody rebellion that has lasted for a quarter-century. The army is said to be preparing a final assault that, according to U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes, could produce a “bloodbath.” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has spoken of “tens of thousands” of lives at risk. Yet the conflict has barely been reported, and the international community has barely stirred.
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By The United Nations Department of Public Information

Representatives of four non-governmental organizations today called on the United Nations to speak out on the situation in northern Sri Lanka and urged the Security Council to take up the matter under the concept of “responsibility to protect”.

Speaking at a Headquarters press conference where they discussed the situation in and around the “no-fire zone” in northern Sri Lanka -– where Government forces are poised to overrun positions held by rebel fighters of the Liberation of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) -– were Joseph Cornelius Donnelly of Caritas Internationalis; Anna Neistat of Human Rights Watch; Robert Templer of the International Crisis Group; and Nimmi Gowrinathan of Operation USA. James Traub of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect was available to answer questions. The press conference was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations.

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By The Washington Times

The Obama administration said Tuesday that it is preparing a major relief effort for Sri Lanka amid expections that the nation’s 26-year civil war will end within days – at a cost of tens of thousands of civilian lives.

The administration also called on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), whose forces are surrounded in eight square miles of swamp, to surrender peacefully and avoid further bloodshed.

“The conflict is at a decisive point, and we see the potential of major developments in the next 48 hours,” Michael S. Owen, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, told reporters at the State Department.

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