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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2785

LTTE should release all civilians without any further delay

Colombo, 18 February, ( The Prayathna People’s Movement (PPM) has strongly appealed to the LTTE to release immediately all civilians trapped within the war zone areas. The PPM points out that keeping civilians as human shields is a violation of international humanitarian laws as well as international law on war.

The media release of the PPM states as follows:

According to all reports reaching Colombo, the fate of innocent civilians in Mullaitivu area is worsening continuously. Reports say that these civilians are trapped in a narrow stretch of land and they were caught in the conflict between the LTTE and the government troops. They further point out that civilians are trying to free themselves from the grip of the LTTE and travel to government controlled areas.

The government, in its part, while urging civilians to come to areas which is controlled by it, has expanded the ‘no-war zone’. The Co-chairs, Aid Group, European Community, India and almost all the international community have appealed to the LTTE to release the civilians.

According to the International Humanitarian Law enshrined in the UN Convention as well as the international laws on war have specifically emphasized that freedom of movement of civilians must be safeguarded.

The First Geneva Convention, Protocol II adopted on June 8, 1977 by the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Human Rights Law applicable in Armed Conflicts presided over by Pierre Graber of Switzerland, came into force in 1979, which states the freedom of movement, mobility rights or the right to travel is a human right.

UN organizations such as UNHCR, have played a commendable role by transferring the sick to safe areas and the ICRC also provided two ships to bring civilians to safe zones.

However, the LTTE has not yet made any positive response to consider allowing the civilians from its areas.

The PPM calls upon the LTTE to safeguard the interest of the civilians by allowing them to travel to safety zones. The LTTE could, at least, should show its flexibility at this critical juncture. We also request the government to act with restraint and to create confidence among civilians who are willing to move to safety areas.

As time is running out we call upon both the warring sides to come immediately to an understanding with regard to this humanitarian issue.

- Asian Tribune -

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