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Sri Lanka: prisoners released in Jaffna

22-03-1995 News Release 12

Sixteen detainees held by the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) were released on 18 March 1995. The detainees concerned, 15 policemen held since June 1990 and one soldier captured in July 1991, were handed over to the ICRC in Jaffna and were transferred to the Palali military base the same day. The Sri Lankan authorities then flew them on to Colombo. An ICRC doctor accompanied the freed detainees on their journey from Jaffna to the capital where their families, informed of their release by the ICRC, were waiting for them at the airport.

The ICRC has been conducting a large-scale humanitarian operation in Sri Lanka since 1989.  Efforts have focused on the protection of detainees and of civilians in conflict areas.  In 1994, ICRC delegates visited more than 2,400 detainees in 357 places of detention throughout the country, including persons held by the LTTE. The Sri Lankan government released a large number of the people it was holding in 1994, but at the end of January 1995 the ICRC was still visiting over 800 detainees.