Sri Lanka: Mortal remains returned
21-10-1999 News Release 99/42
On Saturday 16 October, the ICRC acted as a neutral intermediary in the transfer of the mortal remains of 32 combatants of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) killed in the latest round of fighting between the rebels and Sri Lankan government forces. The bodies were handed over to the ICRC by the Sri Lankan Army at Mankulam, from where they were taken north across the lines dividing the warring parties and handed over to the LTTE. Three more such transfers took place on Sunday.
As it does in other countries, the ICRC in Sri Lanka uses its neutral status to return the mortal remains of combatants and civilians when asked to do so by the parties concerned. In Sri Lanka this year it has so far transferred the remains of 38 Army personnel and 83 members of the LTTE
The ICRC has been present since 1989 in Sri Lanka, where it currently has 50 expatriates and 300 local staff based at its delegation in Colombo and in its 11 offices in the north and east of the country.