Tigers dismayed over ICRC, UNHCR inaction

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 20 June 2000, 07:16 GMT]
The political section of the Liberation Tigers has issued a statement expressing deep regret and dismay over the inaction of the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Commission of the Red Cross (ICRC) in helping to evacuate Tamil civilians trapped in the combat zones of the Thenmaradchchi sector of the Jaffna peninsula , according to the night broadcast of the Voice of Tigers.

The statement said the continuous aerial bombardment and indiscriminate shelling by the Sri Lankan Armed forces in the Thenmaradchi sector had resulted in the death and injuries to hundreds of civilians in this region.

"Pregnant women, children and old people living at the Kaithady Home for the Aged and disabled children at the children's orphanage are facing enormous hardship due to continuous shelling and bombing. These people are afraid to move out and have been forced to live in bomb shelters with very little food, water and other basic needs. We have clearly explained the plight of these people to the UNHCR and ICRC resident representatives in the Vanni. We declared a temporary cessation of hostilities as requested by these humanitarian organisations. We expressed our willingness to allow representatives of these organisations to visit the battle zone and urged them to take the civilians to secure areas according to their wishes and have indicated various safe routes for the evacuation of civilians. However, these organisations have failed to assist the safe evacuation of these people", the statement said.

The statement further pointed out that these international humanitarian organisations have mandatory obligations under the International Humanitarian Law and Geneva conventions to help to protect civilians from the ravages of war. But these relief agencies have failed to utilise their good offices for constructive action to help to rescue the civilians entrapped in the battle zones, the political wing of the LTTE lamented.

 

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