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Sri Lanka: Civilians bearing brunt of conflict

09-01-2007 News Release 07 / 001

Geneva/Colombo (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) deplores the recent death and injury to civilians caused by two attacks on civilian buses in Galle and Gampaha districts.

Eighteen persons were killed and some 50 injured in explosions on buses south of Colombo on 5 and 6 January.

The ICRC is deeply concerned about the rising number of civilians being injured or killed in Sri Lanka's escalating violence. Men, women and children taking no part whatever in the hostilities have endured acute suffering in recent months from shells and bombs.

The ICRC urgently appeals to all parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and thus ensure that the civilian population and civilian objects are respected and protected at all times. This law prohibits attacks against civilians and civilian objects in all circumstances.

Meanwhile, in the Vakarai area on the island's east coast, some 15,000 displaced people and residents are trapped in a conflict zone with hardly any food, medicine or clean water.

The ICRC is closely monitoring the situation. It stands ready to do whatever possible to protect and assist people not, or no longer, taking direct part in the hostilities, by providing them with health care, shelter and other vital necessities.

  For further information, please contact:
  Krakolinig Peter, ICRC Colombo, tel : +94 11 2 503 346 or + 94 77 775 18 91
  Carla Haddad, ICRC Geneva, tel : +41 22 730 24 05 or +41 79 217 32 26