News release

Sri Lanka: ICRC marks 25 years of humanitarian work in the country

Colombo (ICRC) – On 16 October, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will mark the 25th anniversary of its humanitarian activities in Sri Lanka.

"During the past quarter century, the ICRC has striven to protect and assist people detained in connection with the uprising of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, and subsequently those who were affected by the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, such as detainees, displaced people and returnees," said Cherine Pollini, head of the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka. "These days, the ICRC responds to the remaining humanitarian needs caused by the past conflict."

As part of this endeavour, the ICRC has continued to visit all detainees – not only those held in connection with the past conflict – to monitor their treatment and living conditions. On the basis of the results of an island-wide survey, it intends to recommend to the authorities a programme to address the economic, psychosocial, legal and administrative needs of families of missing persons.

The ICRC is currently helping needy people in the former conflict areas to find or maintain a way to provide for themselves, and cleaning wells and building water supply systems and toilets for schoolchildren, returnees and other civilians in those areas. It also carries out small-scale infrastructure construction and reconstruction in places of detention to improve the living conditions of detainees. In addition, it promotes international humanitarian law among armed forces personnel, government officials and academics. Furthermore, the ICRC is supporting its national partner, the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, in its efforts to develop its ability to prepare for and respond to emergencies, to administer first aid, and to help family members separated by conflict, disaster or migration stay in touch.

The ICRC is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect and assist victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence.

For further information, please contact:
Sarasi Wijeratne, ICRC Colombo, tel: +94 11 250 33 46
Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 30 23 or +41 79 251 93 02