We wish to share with you the following joint statements on the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka issued on February 3, 2009, by the United States and the United Kingdom, following the meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Foreign Secretary David Miliband at the Department of State in Washington, DC.
Asian Human Rights Commission
A Joint Statement from the United States and the United Kingdom forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission
SRI LANKA: Joint statements on the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka
February 03, 2009
Office of the Spokesman
Earlier today at a meeting, Secretary Clinton and U.K. Foreign Secretary Miliband discussed their serious concern about deteriorating humanitarian situation in northern Sri Lanka caused by the ongoing hostilities. They affirmed their insistence on a political resolution to this longstanding conflict. The time to resume political discussions is now and we will continue to work with the Tokyo Co-Chairs, the Sri Lankan government, and the UN to facilitate such a process.
Secretary Clinton and Foreign Secretary Miliband call on both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to agree to a temporary no-fire period. Both sides need to allow civilians and wounded to leave the conflict area and to grant access for humanitarian agencies.
We welcome today’s statement by the Tokyo Co-Chairs (Norway, Japan, US and EU) jointly expressing their great concern about the plight of thousands of internally displaced persons trapped by fighting in northern Sri Lanka. We join the Co-Chairs and call on the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka not to fire out of or into the safe zone established by the Government or in the vicinity of the PTK hospital (or any other medical structure), where more than 500 patients are receiving care and many hundreds more have sought refuge. We also call on both sides to allow food and medical assistance to reach those trapped by fighting, cooperate with the ICRC to facilitate the evacuation of urgent medical cases, and ensure the safety of aid and medical workers. The LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka must respect the international law of armed conflict.
A Statement from Co-chairs
February 2, 2009
The Tokyo Co-Chairs (Norway, Japan, US and EU) jointly express their great concern about the plight of thousands of internally displaced persons trapped by fighting in northern Sri Lanka. The Co-Chairs call on the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka not to fire out of or into the no-fire zone established by the Government or in the vicinity of the PTK hospital (or any other medical structure), where more than 500 patients are receiving care and many hundreds more have sought refuge. They also call on both sides to allow food and medical assistance to reach those trapped by fighting, cooperate with the ICRC to facilitate the evacuation of urgent medical cases, and ensure the safety of aid and medical workers. The LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka must respect international humanitarian law.
International efforts to persuade the LTTE to allow the civilians freedom of movement have failed. There remains probably only a short period of time before the LTTE loses control of all areas in the North. The LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka should recognize that further loss of life – of civilians and combatants – will serve no cause.
To avoid further civilian casualties and human suffering, the Co-Chairs:
* call on the LTTE to discuss with the Government of Sri Lanka the modalities for ending hostilities, including the laying down of arms, renunciation of violence, acceptance of the Government of Sri Lanka’s offer of amnesty; and participating as a political party in a process to achieve a just and lasting political solution; and
* call on the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to declare a temporary no-fire period to allow for evacuation of sick and wounded, and provision of aid to civilians.
The Co-Chairs will work with the Government of Sri Lanka, India, the United Nations and others to ensure:
* the internally displaced people from the north are transferred to temporary camps where UN agencies, the ICRC, and humanitarian organizations will have full access and the IDPs will be treated
according to international standards and resettled in their original homes as soon as possible; and
* an inclusive dialogue to agree on a political settlement so that lasting peace and reconciliation can be achieved.
CONTACT: Frederick Jones (Foreign Relations Committee), (202) 228-2950
Kerry and Lugar Concerned About Humanitarian Situation in Sri Lanka
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D – Mass.) and Ranking Committee Minority Member, Senator Richard Lugar, issued the following statement today expressing concern about the deteriorating security situation in Sri Lanka:
“Senator Lugar and I are greatly concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation, including the challenges facing approximately 250,000 internally displaced persons trapped in a 100-square-mile area by fighting in the Vanni area of Sri Lanka. This weekend’s repeated shelling of a hospital, in which several civilians were killed, is only the most recent of many attacks on noncombatants. We urge the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to immediately take all necessary steps to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian access. Moreover, we are deeply troubled by comments by the Sri Lankan Government threatening to expel foreign diplomats, aid agencies, and journalists. Reporters have already experienced physical attacks and intimidation, including the latest brazen assassination of renowned journalist Lasantha Wickrematunga. Together, we urge the Government of Sri Lanka to protect all of its citizens and conduct swift, full, and credible investigations into attacks on journalists and other civilians.
To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER