‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’

[IPS] The eight rows of pews at St. Fatima’s church in Colombo were mostly empty despite the festive look from Christmas decorations. Beside the altar a young man with a receding hairline was setting up a slideshow on the plight of the tens of thousands displaced in war-torn northern Sri Lanka, run to the accompaniment…

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SRI LANKA: Floods, Fighting, Food Shortages Hit Trapped Tamils

[ IPS ] Incessant rains and flooding in the Vanni, the Tamil rebel stronghold in northern Sri Lanka, are adding to the woes of at least 200,000 people stranded in intensified fighting between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan army since mid-September. On Tuesday, the pro-LTTE website, TamilNet.com, reported that…

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Besieged, Displaced, and Detained: The Plight of Civilians in Sri Lanka’s Vanni Region

[HRW] “This 49-page report documents the Sri Lankan government’s responsibility for the plight of the 230,000 to 300,000 displaced persons trapped in the Vanni conflict zone. They face severe shortages of food and other essentials because of government restrictions on humanitarian assistance. Individuals and families who have managed to flee areas controlled by the separatist…

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Sri Lanka: Allow Aid Groups to Help Cyclone Victims

[ HRW ] The Sri Lankan government should immediately lift its September order barring humanitarian agencies from the Vanni conflict area in northern Sri Lanka so they can assist thousands of persons displaced by flooding from Cyclone Nisha. Experienced and impartial humanitarian agencies have offered to respond to the crisis, but face government obstruction. Only…

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Amnesty in urgent Sri Lanka plea

[ BBC ] Amnesty International has appealed to Sri Lanka’s government to allow aid to reach more than 300,000 people displaced by fighting in the north. The human rights group urged both the government and Tamil Tiger rebels to allow international monitors into the northern Wanni region. There has been intense fighting in the area…

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