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Important Material on Dire Humanitarian Crisis & Human Rights Violations in Sri Lanka

By Dr Brian Senewiratne
The conflict in Sri Lanka and Asia's longest civil war was declared over two weeks ago when the Sri Lankan military claimed victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In the face of the Sri Lankan Government's blockade of independent media, NGOs and humanitarian relief into Northern Sri Lanka, reports and evidence has emerged from independent investigations conducted by “War Without Witness” that Sri Lankan military forces used banned arms such as cluster bombs and chemical weapons (including Phosgene and Mustard Gas) in their attacks leading to what the UN estimates to be 25000-30000 civilian deaths in the last week of fighting. This is on top of the estimated 7000 civilian deaths that are believed to have occurred due to the conflict between January - March 2009. There are still over 100 000 Tamil civilians unaccounted for, missing presumed dead.

The Sri Lankan Govt blockade of independent media and monitors into the Northern regions of the country has meant that the truth of the extent of the humanitarian crisis is largely being shielded from the world. Please find below some web links providing evidence of some of the grave atrocities against civilians in Sri Lanka - some of which are still currently being committed (particularly in the Govt run camps set up to house refugees and internally displaced civilians). It is currently estimated that around 300 000 refugees (including approx. 80 000 children) are forcibly being held behind barb wire in the Govt camps, most of which don't even have roof coverage.

In these camps set up by the SL Govt where Tamil refugees have been taken shocking claims have also emerged of shortages of food and water, dead bodies left where they have fallen, women and children separated from their families, and rampant sexual abuse by government forces and military personnel. While the government insists that the refugees stay there is temporary, the few aid workers that have been allowed into the camps say there is not as yet a concrete plan for their resettlement into the country's north. One aid worker spoken to says he has been told by government officials, the camp system may need to last for over 3 years.

The urgency as to why the current crisis needs to be highlighted is because this is a very critical time with tens of thousands of silenced civilians very vulnerable to having their basic human rights repeatedly violated unless international and foreign awareness of the situation is increased and greater monitoring and scrutiny of the situation is facilitated to minimise the number of civilians that are starved, raped and denied medical treatment and other basic freedoms.

Please contact me for more information if required, as I'm very familiar with current situation and have delivered many presentations and discourses on the topic at various forums (including at the UN).

Kind Regards
Dr Brian Senewiratne
(Consulatant Physician- MMBS Hons[Lond], MD [Lond], FRCAP)

Potential War Crimes:

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