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UN downplayed civilian death toll, media say

June 1, 2009

France 24 : UN downplayed civilian death toll, media say
The United Nations deliberately downplayed the number of civilians killed during the Sri Lankan government offensive against the Tamil Tigers, according to a report in a leading French daily.

‘Their moral compass might have gone wrong’ – Philippe Bolopion

Shortly after the Sri Lankan army’s official victory declaration, the local head of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Amin Awad, told the Arabic TV station Al Jazeera there were virtually no civilians left in the conflict zone, the article notes.

But the very next day, some 20,000 refugees came out of the conflict zone, having suffered a sustained bombardment.

“It gave the government a blank cheque to carpet bomb the whole area,” a UN worker told the Le Monde.
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