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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2641

Ultimatum To Tigers To Free Civilians – United Nations

United Natioms, 04 April, (Asiantribune.com): In a strongly worded statement read out by the UN Spokesperson Michelle Montas today, the UN Secretary-General again warned the LTTE leadership to allow civilians to leave the conflict area of their own free will’ adding that the ‘severe restrictions of the LTTE on freedom of movement violates international Law’.

The former Secretary General of International Alert, and the outspoken Human Rights activist Dr. Kumar Rupasinghe accused Tigers of planning a humanitarian catastrophe and said that use of civilians as hostages is a grave crime against humanity.

The UN statement further stated that ‘the Secretary-General is deeply distressed by continuing reports from the Vanni region that civilians are at extreme risk, with heavy casualties and that the LTTE is keeping civilians in a very small area of active conflict against their will’. The Secretary-General also ‘deplored the forced recruitment of civilians, particularly children’.

Observers in New York point out that this is the strongest condemnation made by the UN at the highest level of the LTTE’s continued intransigence and violation of international humanitarian Law.

Yesterday the UN Secretary-General’s Spokesperson announced, the Sri Lanka Government’s delivery of another shipment of over a thousand metric tons of food, medicine and shelter material to the civilians trapped by the LTTE with WFP and ICRC assistance, while today’s statement reminds the Government also of its responsibility to protect civilians and the welfare of IDPs.

- Asian Tribune -

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