Govt., TE request ICRC's help to open A9

[TamilNet, Saturday, 23 March 2002, 12:05 GMT]
The government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have officially requested the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) to assist in opening the A9 highway to Jaffna from Killinochchi. "We received the official request from the government and the LTTE on Friday. However we have not decided on the date of opening the A9 highway," said Mr. Arjuna Ranawana, Information Officer of the ICRC addressing Trincomalee district journalists Saturday morning at Seven Islands Hotel.

ICRC sources said that probably the A9 highway is likely to be opened coinciding with the Sinhala and Tamil new year which is considered as a national festival of the country. The Sinhala-Tamil New Year falls on April 14.

Ms Lina Milner, Head of Sub Delegation of the ICRC, Trincomalee, Mr.Thurnherr Erik, Protection Delegate of the Mutur ICRC sub office and Mr.M.Pushparajan, Dissemination Officer of the ICRC, Trincomalee attended the press conference.

Ms Lina Milner outlined the objective of the ICRC's function in countries affected by conflicts.

In 2001, ICRC Trincomalee carried out 84 visits to 10 permanent and transitory places of detention. In all 96 persons detained due to the conflict were seen for the first time and 371 detainees were revisited, a report circulated among the journalists said.

The report states-

"142 families in Trincomalee received financial assistance in the year 2001 to visit relatives detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Emergency Regulations once every three months. 121 released detainees who asked ICRC for help were given assistance to travel home. 63 Red Cross messages were collected and 70 distributed by ICRC Trincomalee between family members separated by the conflict. During this period ICRC Trincomalee reunited 8 families separated by the conflict

"ICRC chartered vessel 'Jaya Gold' which operates weekly between Trincomalee and Kankesanthurai, bringing patients need of specialised medical treatment carried 1722 patients from Jaffna to Colombo in the year 2001. The ICRC assisted 1,954 families affected by cyclone that hit the area in December 2000, with non-food items in Muttur, Seruvila and Eachilampathu areas

"In 2001, the ICRC held sessions on International Humanitarian Law (IHL), describing its mandate and the Law of War to the Sri Lanka Armed forces, the LTTE and civilians in Trincomalee. For the Sri Lanka Army, Navy, Police and Home Guards the ICRC conducted 34 sessions for 3,470 personnel. A two-day workshop for 30 naval officers on Law of Armed Conflict was also held. Two sessions for 36 LTTE cadres from political and military wings was also held. For civilians, 43 sessions covering 2,264 judicial officers, doctors, health workers, NGO workers and teachers were held."

icrc_pressmeet_230302.jpg ( From left)Mr.Arjuna Ranawana, Information Officer, ICRC head office, Ms Lina Milner, Head of the Sub Delegation of the ICRC in Trincomalee, Mr.M.Pushparajan, Dissemination Officer, Trincomalee ICRC office and Mr.Thurnherr Erik, Protection Delegate of the ICRC's Mutur sub-office. (Photo:TamilNet)


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