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Sri Lanka: ICRC makes urgent appeal for wounded to be given medical care

18-05-2009 News Release 09/104

Geneva (ICRC) – For nine consecutive days the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been pursuing efforts, so far without success, to reach the area of north-eastern Sri Lanka hard hit by fighting in recent weeks.

The ICRC has therefore been unable to obtain first-hand information about the needs of civilians and wounded people in the area. Although thousands of civilians have fled the conflict zone in the past days and weeks, the ICRC remains concerned about the wounded needing urgent medical care.

“Under international humanitarian law, the lives of all those who are not or are no longer fighting must be spared. Wounded and sick people must be collected and cared for immediately, and detainees must be treated humanely,” said the ICRC’s director of operations, Pierre Krähenbühl, from the ICRC’s headquarters in Geneva today. “This is all the more urgent since no humanitarian aid has reached those who need it for over a week.”

The ICRC has proposed to the authorities that it help evacuate any remaining civilians from the area where fighting has been taking place, care for the sick and wounded, and provide emergency assistance for the displaced. The ICRC will seize any opportunity that presents itself to enter the area and assess the situation.



 For further information, please contact:  

 Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 58 or +41 79 217 32 24  

 Sarasi Wijeratne, ICRC Colombo, tel: +94 11 250 33 46 or +94 77 315 88 44