UN expresses ‘deep concern’ for civilians trapped in Sri Lanka war zone

April 7th, 2009 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, April 7 (IANS) The United Nations Tuesday expressed “deep concern” for the lives of over 100,000 Tamil civilians trapped in a small strip of land in the northern Mullaitivu district, saying “a series of humanitarian pauses must be initiated immediately” to allow them “to leave” the war zone.
Walter Kalin, the representative of the UN secretary general on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, issued a statement at the end of a four-day fact finding visit saying over 100,000 civilians were trapped in the 14-square kilometre area of Sri Lanka declared a no-fire zone and appealed to save their lives.

“Large numbers of civilians already have been killed or wounded. Following reports that LTTE fighters now have been pushed almost entirely into this zone, many more are at risk of losing their lives,” Kalin said.

“I urgently repeat my call to the LTTE to allow all civilians under its control to leave this zone and to seek safety elsewhere. I also call on the government of Sri Lanka to scrupulously respect the no-fire zone for as long as a civilian population remains within it,” he added.

The world body’s reiteration of its deep concern for the lives of civilians trapped in the war zone comes days after government troops seized control of Puthukkudiyiruppu, the last bastion of the Tamil Tiger, killing over 500 rebels after three days of fierce gunbattles.

“I believe that a series of humanitarian pauses must be initiated immediately to allow civilians to leave and humanitarian actors to provide life-saving relief to the remaining population,” the UN envoy said in the statement.

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