EU for respect of humanitarian law in Sri Lanka

September 15th, 2008 - 6:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Sep 15 (IANS) EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel expressed Monday his grave concern over the escalation of the conflict in Sri Lanka and the effects on innocent civilians. “I’m deeply troubled by the escalation of the violence in Sri Lanka and the terrible impact it is having on the lives of so many innocent civilians,” he said in a statement here.

Michel said the situation is made all the worse because international relief efforts were having to be suspended because the safety of humanitarian workers cannot be ensured.

“I would remind all sides to fully respect international humanitarian law,” he stressed.

Following Sri Lanka’s request for UN and international organisations to withdraw from the conflict area, thousands of innocent civilians trapped by the conflict will lose access to essential humanitarian supplies, the statement noted.

In addition, these people are unable to leave the conflict zone because of restrictions imposed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the lack of secure escape routes to safer areas.

The EU commissioner called on both sides to guarantee the safe transit of humanitarian convoys with food, medical and other essential supplies to people in need.

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