Fear reaching terrifying proportions in Sri Lanka

Representatives of four non-governmental organizations yesterday called on the United Nations to speak out on the situation in northern Sri Lanka and urged the Security Council to take up the matter under the concept of “responsibility to protect”.

Speaking at a Headquarters press conference where they discussed the situation in and around the “no-fire zone” in northern Sri Lanka -– where Government forces are poised to overrun positions held by rebel fighters of the Liberation of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) -– were Joseph Cornelius Donnelly of Caritas Internationalis; Anna Neistat of Human Rights Watch; Robert Templer of the International Crisis Group; and Nimmi Gowrinathan of Operation USA. James Traub of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect was available to answer questions. The press conference was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations.

Mr. Donnelly said that, while fear was not the normal state of a civilized people, the fear in the no-fire zone had reached terrifying dimensions. Although Caritas Internationalis had appealed for $2.5 million to respond to the crisis, no amount of money would make any difference without a cessation of hostilities. The situation was urgent and desperate, with people dying every day, including children, and fears of an impending bloodbath. It was deeply alarming that the international community had not placed the crisis at the top of its agenda and urged the Security Council to take action.

Mr. Donnelly said that, while fear was not the normal state of a civilized people, the fear in the no-fire zone had reached terrifying dimensions. Although Caritas Internationalis had appealed for $2.5 million to respond to the crisis, no amount of money would make any difference without a cessation of hostilities. The situation was urgent and desperate, with people dying every day, including children, and fears of an impending bloodbath. It was deeply alarming that the international community had not placed the crisis at the top of its agenda and urged the Security Council to take action.

Source: United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) For information media • not an official record

Read the full report on Reliefweb

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Filed under Asia, Conflicts and Disasters, Emergencies, Emergencies in Sri Lanka, Peacebuilding, Sri Lanka

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