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SL concedes to using heavy weaponry in safe zone!!!

April 28, 2009

On Monday 27 April 2009, the Sri Lankan Presidential Secretariat had issued a statement which said: “Our security forces have been instructed to end the use of heavy calibre guns, combat aircraft and aerial weapons which could cause civilian casualties.”

This means that the government has admitted that it has in fact been using heavy weaponry in the safe zone, where a densely populated 300,000 Tamil civilians have been seeking refuge – this is a violation of international law!

Human Rights Watch : Sri Lanka: Government Admission Shows Need for UN Inquiry
Visiting Envoys Should Make Civilian Protection Top Priority

April 27, 2009
(New York) – The Sri Lankan government’s admission that it has been using heavy weapons in an area crowded with displaced civilians underscores the need for an international commission of inquiry into violations of the laws of war by government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Human Rights Watch said today.

“By finally admitting it has been using heavy weapons all along, the Sri Lanka government has shed light onto its official deception as well as its brutal military tactics,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The UN Security Council should stop burying its head in the sand on Sri Lanka and urgently create an international commission of inquiry to look at abuses by both sides.”

Read more here

Furthermore, UN Representative John Holmes too has said, “I hope that the idea of not using heavy weapons will genuinely be respected, which I am afraid has not been the case in the past.” Read more here.

Today, the European Union joined the growing number of countries calling on the Sri Lankan State to enter an immediate ceasefire: “It (the Council) urges an immediate humanitarian cease-fire to allow for a U.N.-assisted evacuation of those still trapped in the conflict zone…The EU repeats its call on the government of Sri Lanka to proceed urgently towards an inclusive and peaceful political process.” Read more here.

Inner City Press highlighted in its latest report that on April 22, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had said that his envoy Vijay Nambiar had gotten a commitment from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to allow a humanitarian assessment team into the conflict zone but five days later his spokesperson acknowledged that what was presented as a commitment has not been implemented. Read more here.

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