Friday, March 20, 2009

150,000 Civilians Face Death in Sri Lanka

"A Slaughter Waiting to Happen”

Lakhdar Brahimi of the International Crisis Group writes in today’s International Herald Tribune that an estimated 150,000 Sri Lankan civilians are in danger of being killed, caught between the military and the LTTE guerrillas. In an article titled "A Slaughter Waiting to Happen," the former special adviser to the U.N. Secretary General writes:

"An estimated 150,000 civilians are now trapped in a tiny pocket of land between Sri Lankan military forces, whose artillery shells regularly fall among them, and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who shoot at them if they try to escape. Food, clean water and medical assistance are all increasingly scarce.

According to U.N. figures, 2,300 civilians have already died and at least 6,500 have been injured since January. Some 500 children have been killed and over 1,400 injured. What happens to the rest of those caught in the middle of the government’s onslaught and the Tigers’ fight to the death depends not only on the two parties but on the international response as well.

The crisis is born of acts by both sides that most probably amount to serious violations of humanitarian law and perhaps to war crimes or crimes against humanity.”

Read Brahimi’s full article here.

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