Sri Lanka: Disregard for Civilian Safety Appalling

[ HRW ]

A Sri Lankan government statement that it is not responsible for the safety of civilians who remain in areas controlled by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) indicates an appalling disregard for the well-being of the civilian population and is contrary to international law, Human Rights Watch said today. There are continuing reports of high civilian casualties in the fighting between government forces and the LTTE in the Mullaittivu district of the northern Vanni area. A Ministry of Defense statement issued on February 2, 2009, states: “While the Security Forces accept all responsibility to ensure the safety and protection of civilians in the Safety Zones, they are unable to give such an assurance to those who remain outside these zones.

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