Actions taken by Lankan Government, LTTE amount to war crimes: UN

March 14th, 2009 - 5:19 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Mar 14 (ANI): The UN in its strongest message on the conflict so far has said that nearly 10,000 civilians have been killed or injured in two months and actions taken by the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil Tiger rebels may amount to war crimes.

UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Navi Pillay called on the two warring sides to suspend hostilities immediately, The BBC reported.

Describing the level of civilian deaths as truly shocking, she warned it could reach catastrophic levels.

While the Sri Lankan Government said it was very disappointed at the UN commissioners unprofessional statement, there was no immediate reaction from the rebels.

The army has pressed the rebels into a shrinking area amid heavy fighting, saying it is engaged in a final offensive to capture the last Tamil Tiger strongholds.

Certain actions being undertaken by the Sri Lankan military and by the LTTE may constitute violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, said Pillay.

She accused government forces of repeatedly shelling safe zones set up to protect civilians.

Tamil Tigers, she said, had reportedly held civilians as human shields and fired on those who tried to flee.

According to what the UN called credible sources, more than 2,800 civilians may have been killed and 7,000 others wounded in the fighting over the last two months.

Hundreds of children are believed to have died, Pillay said, and more than a thousand have been injured. (ANI)

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