ICRC closes Jaffna office
[TamilNet, Friday, 25 February 2011, 00:32 GMT]
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Thursday announced that it is closing down its Jaffna office after 21 years of service, hinting that Jaffna is no more a region of priority needing conflict related activities. After Mu’l’livaaykkaal, while genocidal Colombo is now focussing on converting the entire Jaffna peninsula into an open concentration camp, the withdrawal of ICRC reminding its earlier withdrawal from Vanni at the beginning of the war, causes serious concern among people of Jaffna, commented a human rights worker in Jaffna. The ICRC leaves Jaffna not only when High Security Zones remain but also when new bases for occupying military are built among civilian population and when the people of Jaffna are pointedly targeted by a terror campaign. The international perception on ‘conflict’ is lopsided, the human rights worker commented.
"We are closing after 21 years of service. This is an important moment in the history of the ICRC's work in Sri Lanka," said Florence Gillette, the head of the office in Jaffna. "We remain committed to responding to needs arising from the conflict, which we will often do in partnership with the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society," the ICRC News Release cited its officials in Jaffna.
The Red Cross family visit programme aimed at maintaining family links between relatives and persons held in prisons and elsewhere will henceforth be run by the ICRC office in Colombo and the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society branch in Vavuniya, the News Release further said.