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UN document : 2,683 civilian killings this year in Sri Lanka

March 19, 2009

In N. Sri Lanka, 2,683 Civilian Killings This Year, UN Leaked Documents Show

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 18 — After claiming of Sri Lanka that “we don’t count bodies,” the UN has now involuntarily admitted that the “minimum number of documented civilian casualties since 20 January 2009, as of 7 March 2009 in the conflict area of Mullaitivu Region [is] 9,924 casualties including 2,683 deaths and 7,241 injuries,” in a leaked document of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs obtained by Inner City Press.

OCHA’s top official John Holmes, as well as spokespeople for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, have repeatedly denied that the UN has such casualty figures.  Now it appears that unlike in other conflicts from Darfur to Gaza, the UN withheld the Sri Lanka figures, in effect protecting the Sri Lankan government from criticism.

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