Displaced cut off from international aid – watchdog

[TamilNet, Thursday, 16 November 2006, 14:14 GMT]
Some 130,000 internally displaced people - more than half of those uprooted by the current intensification of violence in Sri Lanka - are "cut off from international assistance and exposed to serious human rights abuses," the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) said in a report released Thursday, citing the shelling of a refugee camp in Vakarai last week. Despite “signals” by the government that access restrictions "may be eased", IDMC said it is concerned that "bureaucratic procedures will in effect continue to prevent humanitarian workers from reaching the civilian populations."

"Last week's shelling of a displaced persons camp by government forces was just the latest serious incident in an escalating series of attacks on civilians by both sides in the conflict", said Elisabeth Rasmusson, the Head of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

"This most recent escalation of human suffering came only days after the latest round of talks ended on 29 October without result and little apparent interest on both sides to re-engage in talks," she said.

"The government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE must stop these violations of the ceasefire and other serious human rights abuses immediately, and allow access of international humanitarian organisations to the affected populations."

“In a welcome step, the government signalled last week that access restrictions to affected areas may be eased, but concerns remain that burdensome bureaucratic procedures will in effect continue to prevent humanitarian workers from reaching the civilian populations caught in the middle of the conflict.”

The Geneva-based IDMC, established in established in 1998 by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), is the leading international body monitoring conflict-induced internal displacement worldwide.

At the request of the United Nations, the Geneva-based IDMC runs an online database providing comprehensive information and analysis on internal displacement in some 50 countries.


Chronology:
15.11.06  Vaharai starves

 

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