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TRO honours “World Humanitarian Day”

August 21, 2009

HIC Tamil – World Humanitarian Day 2009

On this, the inaugural “World Humanitarian Day”, Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) honors the memory of humanitarian workers throughout the world who have laid down their lives in selfless service to those affected by war or natural disaster. Humanitarian workers in Sri Lanka, and TRO staff in particular, have been the frequent target of violence. Sri Lanka continues to be one of the most dangerous places in the world for humanitarian workers and with over one hundred having been killed since 2005 (Action Contre La Faim 17, TRO 7, etc).


We also wish to draw attention to those humanitarian workers who courageously continue to work in dangerous conditions risking death, injury, rape, torture and disappearance. The local staff of UN Agencies, international and national NGOs, and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in Sri Lanka deserve special mention especially those who continued to assist the 330,000 IDPs in the Vanni after the UN and international NGOs deserted the people and left the area in September 2008.


During this period, September 2008 to May 2009, thirty-six (36) humanitarian workers were killed by aerial bombardment and artillery shelling in the so called ‘safe zones’. Of these, 19 were TRO staff and the other 17 were local staff of the ICRC, international and national NGOs, CBOs and volunteer medical staff in the makeshift hospitals.


Many of these deaths occurred in the final days of the military onslaught into the ‘safe zone’ and as a result the details are only now filtering out. The difficulty in getting accurate information has been due to the lack of access to the concentration camps in the North of Sri Lanka where most of the survivors from the ‘safe zone’ are imprisoned by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL).

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