Human Rights Watch blames LTTE, Colombo over war

January 29th, 2009 - 9:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Jan 29 (IANS) The Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers should take immediate steps to allow thousands of civilians trapped in the war zone to move to safety, Human Rights Watch has said.The rights group urged both parties to provide the civilians safe passage and to ensure that they receive desperately needed humanitarian aid.

An estimated 250,000 civilians have been caught in deadly crossfire between the Sri Lankan military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“The situation for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable civilians trapped in the Vanni war zone is becoming increasingly dangerous,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Both the government and the LTTE need to take urgent action to prevent large-scale civilian deaths.”

The LTTE has long prevented civilians under its control from fleeing to government-held areas. As the LTTE has retreated into its stronghold in the north, it has forced civilians deeper into territory they control.

The government has contributed to the risk to civilians by detaining those who have fled LTTE areas, including whole families, in militarized detention camps, denying them freedom of movement.

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