Sri Lanka: Civilians continue to face deadly daily threat

Amnesty International today condemned the targeting of civilians in the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka.

At least two women and a 12 year old child died today when unidentified gunmen fired at a bus. Another person also died in the ambush. Around 26 others were injured in the attack, which took place in Buttala, south east of the capital, Colombo.

The defence ministry has said that Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) gunmen were responsible. The LTTE has not commented on the attack. In January, 26 people died in another bus attack in the same area.

“These indiscriminate attacks are brutal. The victims are overwhelmingly people who are trying to go about their everyday lives, living in fear of attacks at any time, with the added untold suffering this brings to their relatives. The total disregard for the safety of civilians is completely indefensible,” said Amnesty International.

The organization called upon all parties to the conflict – – the LTTE, the government security forces and other armed groups – – to abide by international law. All combatants in Sri Lanka are bound by the provisions of Article 3 Common to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, which applies to non-international armed conflicts.

“It is time that all parties put human rights at the heart of their policies and end the terrible uncertainty for civilians in conflict-affected areas, and for those who are targeted in reprisal attacks in the south,” said Amnesty International.