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UN News

7 April 2009

Walter Kaelin, professor of law at the University of Bern (Switzerland), has been the Representative of the Secretary General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced People since 2004.

The United Nations advocate for displaced persons today called for urgent measures to save civilians trapped in a tiny pocket of northern Sri Lanka by fighting between the Government and Tamil rebels.

am deeply concerned for the lives of over 100,000 civilians trapped in the 14-square kilometre area of the Vanni declared by the Government of Sri Lanka as a no-fire zone, Walter Klin, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moons Representative for the Human Rights of Displaced Persons said following a four-day visit to the island nation.

Large numbers of civilians already have been killed or wounded as the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been pushed into smaller and smaller areas, and Mr. Klin expressed deep concern that many more were at risk of losing their lives. ()

Noting that more than 52,000 IDPs have arrived in the Vavuniya area since November, he welcomed the Governments acknowledgement of its responsibility to protect and assist these persons, and he recognized measures already taken in this regard.

He described, however, extraordinary efforts that will required of the Government, the UN, non-governmental organizations and donors to meet the needs of this population as well as those of the tens of thousands expected to arrive in the coming weeks and months. ()

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