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Amnesty International calls for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka

April 23, 2009


60,000 trapped in Sri Lanka conflict

In the last 48 hours, the situation for civilians trapped in fighting in north-eastern Sri Lanka has deteriorated.Conditions worsen by the hour.

More than 4,500 civilians have been killed in the conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in this area alone. A further estimated 60,000 people remain trapped in the war zone – now a space of around 12 square kilometres – with no safe exit. There is a real risk of further civilian casualties on a horrific scale.

Please tell our Government to call for an immediate humanitarian truce to ensure the safety of innocent civilians

The Sri Lankan Government is now using artillery in its fight – an indiscriminate weapon designed for use on conventional battlefields and likely to lead to massive civilian casualties if used in densely-populated areas.

There are also widespread reports of the LTTE involvement in enforced disappearances, theuse of civilians as human shields and attacks on people trying to escape from areas under LTTE control. These human rights abuses by both sides are clear violations of international law.

The Sri Lankan Government and LTTE must stop harming civilians, and furthermore must ensure their safe passage from the war zone and access to food, water and medical supplies. To make this happen, the rest of the world – including Australia – must stand up and tell both parties to the conflict that we will not accept harm to innocent people anywhere, for any reason.

Australia must engage with both sides of this conflict to push for an immediate humanitarian truce and prevent further bloodshed – urge our Government to take action now

Innocent civilians have borne the brunt of conflict in Sri Lanka for over 25 years. This must stop now. Women, men, children and families must be allowed safe passage away from the conflict zone and access to humanitarian services.

Claire Mallinson
National Director
Amnesty International Australia

Take action now for people in Sri Lanka

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