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Sri Lanka: Passenger ferry sails under ICRC protection

10-08-2000 News Release 00/30

On 7 August the passenger ferry " City of Trinco " carried 353 civilians from Trincomalee to the Jaffna Peninsula under the protection of the ICRC.

At the request of the Sri Lankan government, the ICRC agreed to let the ferry fly the ICRC flag on its twice weekly trips to and from the north provided only civilians were on board. The ICRC had previously obtained written guarantees for the safe passage of the vessel from both the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. According to the terms of the agreement, the transport of military personnel and arms and ammunition is strictly prohibited and the ship must not be accompanied by military escorts. 

The ICRC has been working in Sri Lanka since 1989, carrying out its traditional humanitarian activities and acting as a neutral intermediary whenever required. Its daily tasks consist in protecting detainees, restoring family ties, providing the civilian population with material assistance and spreading knowledge of the basic rules of international humanitarian law.