12 January 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
URGENT APPEALfrom the civilians in the Vanni to:
The Government of India, President-Elect Obama, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and the
TRO is making an urgent appeal to The Government of India, President-Elect Obama, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and the international community to appeal to the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to cease attacks on civilian targets; allow unfettered humanitarian access to the Vanni by the UN and international NGOs; and to allow all necessary essential humanitarian assistance into the area.
The Sri Lanka Armed Forces continue to bomb and shell civilian areas including: internally displaced person camps, hospitals, churches, temples, and school while the international community remains silent. These attacks have caused the deaths of over 50 civilians in the past month injuries to hundreds.
The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) also restricts and bans the transportation of essential humanitarian emergency relief to the 350,000 displaced persons in the Vanni. Currently there is not sufficient food, medicine, shelter, fuel, water & sanitation and educational materials to meet the bare requirements of these Tamil civilians.
Displacement continues from areas south of Mullaitivu and East of Kilinochchi due to ongoing military offensives by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. These displaced include internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have been displaced from other parts of the Vanni, some up to ten times and new IDPs who had been living in
the villages where fighting is taking place. The population of the Vanni is approximately 450,000 persons. Currently, 350,000 of these persons are displaced. TRO requests that the Government of India, President-Elect Obama, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
and the International Community pressure the Government of Sri Lanka to:
1. Cease all bombing and shelling of civilians and civilian institutions such as hospitals, schools, temples, churches and civil administration buildings;
2. Declare, in consultation with the LTTE and the ICRC, “safe zones/havens” for IDPs and other civilians;
3. Allow UN & international NGOs to enter the Vanni and remain there to assist civilian IDPs;
4. Open the border checkpoints so that ambulances can transport the severely wounded civilians to hospitals;
5. Allow the unfettered transportation of humanitarian relief to the Vanni. This includes: food, medicine,
shelter materials (tents, tarpaulins, etc), fuel, and other essential items.
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