PUCL urges UN to invoke R2P for safety zones, camps
Chennai | Saturday, Jan 31 2009 IST
Expressing serious concern over the fast deteriorating humanitarian crisis of the civilians trapped in the cross fire between the Sri Lankan army and LTTE, the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) today appealed to the United Nations (UN) to invoke R2P (Responsibility to Protect) and administer the safety zones and camps.
In a statement here, PUCL President V Suresh, quoting ICRC and UN estimates, said about 2.3 to three lakh civilians were currently trapped in and around the line of the military offensive and appealed to the UN to invoke the doctrine of "Responsibility to Protect" to proactively intervene in the Sri Lankan crisis on an emergency basis to prevent further aggravation of the humanitarian crisis.
The PUCL also called upon both the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE to honour the Vienna Convention and ensure the safety of civilians. "The Lankan Government, which has a soverign responsibility to protect its citizens from human rights violations and which responsibility takes precedence over military expediency to create and expand safety zones", he said.
The Lankan Government should allow international observers to assess the humanitarian situation in the Vanni region of north Sri Lanka and also eastern region and facilitate remedial measures, he said.
The PUCL also want the Lankan Government to rush food supplies to the northern areas, ensure freedom of movement for those, who have come out of the LTTE, restore freedom of press and media and prosecute the killers of Lasantha Wickrematunge, the Editor of Sunday Leader, he said.
He said the PUCL welcomed the demarcation of the safety zones by the Lankan Government, but this was a step too small and taken too late. "We feel that if the safety zones have to be truly meaningful they will have to be operated and managed by UN agencies and the International Community and not run by the Lankan Government.
"While we are conscious of the fact that the LTTE is equally responsible for the humanitarian crisis, we firmly believe that the Lankan Government hs a greater responsibility to ensure the safety of the citizens", Mr Suresh added.
-- (UNI) -- 31MS11.xml
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