UN chief denounces ongoing 'blood bath' in Sri Lanka

UN chief denounces ongoing 'blood bath' in Sri Lanka

By staff writers
12 May 2009

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has joined international NGOs and religious groups in expressing horror at the killing of many hundreds of civilians in 'no fire zones' in embattled Sri Lanka over the weekend.

The Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels have blamed each other for the the slaughter but it is proving impossible for reporters to see what is happening because of restrictions imposed by the authorities.

Yesterday, hundreds of Tamil activists blocked traffic in London opposite the Houses of Parliament in a continued attempt to get the UK government and the international community to intervene more decisively.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband also denounced the killing in very forthright terms.

Thousands of Sri Lankans have already died in the past several months due to the conflict and more still remain in grave danger.

The UN Secretary-General has repeatedly called upon the parties to the conflict to stop using heavy-calibre weaponry, including mortars, in, areas with high civilian concentrations.

He is particularly outraged at the continued use of heavy weapons in this situation - declaring that the government attacks and the lack of respect shown by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for the safety of civilians, has led to thousands of people remaining trapped in the area.

Over the weekend, the Secretary-General called on both sides, in the strongest terms possible, to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law.

He said: "The LTTE must immediately allow the remaining civilians in the conflict zone to leave. He reminds the parties that the world is watching events in Sri Lanka closely, and will not accept further violations of international law."

The UN chief urged the government of Sri Lanka "to explore all possible options to bring the conflict to an end without further bloodshed and to make public the terms under which that can be achieved without further loss of civilian life", and for the LTTE to "give sober and positive consideration of those terms."

Keywords: sri lanka | tamil
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