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International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
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UN News
13 March 2009

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that certain actions undertaken by the Sri Lankan military and by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) could constitute violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.

e need to know more about what is going on, but we know enough to be sure that the situation is absolutely desperate, she said. he world today is ever-sensitive about such acts that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. ()

The LTTE is believed to be continuing to hold civilians as human shields and shooting those trying to leave their control. Further, they are reportedly forcibly recruiting civilians, including children, as soldiers.

he brutal and inhuman treatment of civilians by the LTTE is utterly reprehensible, and should be examined to see if it constitutes war crimes, the High Commissioner said. ()

Ms. Pillay called on both the Government and the LTTE to immediately halt the fighting to allow all civilians to evacuate the conflict zone, urging Sri Lankan authorities to give UN and other independent agencies full access to accurately assess conditions.

Last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly deplored the mounting civilian death and stressed the urgent need for the end of clashes. In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban repeated his call to the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE to uspend hostilities for the purposes of allowing civilians to leave the conflict zone, and allowing immediate humanitarian access to them.

He appealed to the LTTE to take its weapons and fighters out of areas where there are many civilians, cooperate in humanitarian efforts and instantly end recruiting children, some as young as 13 years of age, as soldiers. In addition, he urged the Government to begin erious efforts to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict.


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