In September 2008 the government forced the withdrawal of all humanitarian agencies with the exception of
the ICRC. It is the only aid agency with permanent, albeit limited, access and has since facilitated limited aid
convoys to civilians with UN and ICRC help.
In April 2009, as fighting intensified and international pressure grew for a temporary humanitarian ceasefire,
tens of thousands of civilians escaped to government held areas. There are now over 150,000 displaced
persons in 20 transit camps across Vavuniya District. The Government of Sri Lanka maintained for months
that the numbers of civilians trapped in the conflict zone was lower than aid agencies’ estimates. As a result
the government is not prepared to deal with the tens of thousands of civilians who have now crossed into
Vavuniya District. Reports show that the “welfare villages” which are de facto detention centers established by
the authorities are overcrowded and have inadequate facilities.
Away from the frontlines, freedom of expression is under severe threat in the country. As a result, the conflict
is not fully reported within Sri Lanka and those who attempt to do so have frequently found themselves
targeted by government authority.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English or your own
To Government of Sri-Lanka
- calling for an immediate end to artillery shelling by the Sri Lankan army in the ‘No Fire Zone’ in the north-
east of the country;
- calling on the Sri Lankan government to allow full and unimpeded access for national and international
humanitarian agencies to the north-east so that they can provide food, medicine and other vital humanitarian
assistance to the civilian population;
- asking the government to provide guarantees of safe passage for national and international humanitarian
- calling on the Sri Lankan government to have a cessation of hostilities so that civilians can move to areas of
- urging the Sri Lankan government to allow independent national and international observers, including non-
governmental organizations, prompt and unhindered access throughout the island.
- urging the Sri Lankan government to ensure that the screening process is carried out in ways that guarantees
the human rights and dignity of all those involved, and allow independent monitoring of the screening process;
- calling for anyone who is detained on suspicion of involvement with the LTTE to be promptly charged with a
recognizable criminal offence and brought to justice in proceedings that meet international standards for
fairness, without recourse of death penalty, or released.
- Adding that while in detention, individuals must not be held incommunicado or in secret or unofficial places
of detention where they are vulnerable to extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearance.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Fax: +94 11 2446657 or +94 11 2472100
Tratamiento: Your Excellency / Excelencia
To the LTTE:
- calling on the LTTE to allow civilians to move to areas of safety and to stop using civilians as a buffer
between themselves and government forces.
- stop all direct or indiscriminate attacks against civilians, condemn all such attacks publicly and state that
they will not be tolerated.
- end forced recruitment including recruitment of child soldiers and involuntary labor.
APPEALS TO: Please send emails for the LTTE to the following address: email@example.com
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Sri Lanka accredited to your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if
sending appeals after 12 June 2009.