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Disappointed in failure of parliamentary motion

28 April 2009 Media Statement

Labour disappointed in failure of parliamentary motion

The Labour Party today expressed its disappointment that the Maori Party blocked a motion in Parliament on the humanitarian crisis in Northern Sri Lanka, Grant Robertson Labour Associate Foreign Affairs Spokesperson says.

“The motion was a genuine attempt to support the civilians who are caught up in the conflict in Northern Sri Lanka.

“The UN and other bodies have acknowledged that this is a dire humanitarian situation, and it is important that both sides do everything they can to safeguard the well-being of civilians,” Grant Robertson said.

“I particularly welcome reports today that the Sri Lankan government have decided to end use of heavy weaponry and bombing in the area.

“The LTTE (Tamil Tigers) in turn need to ensure that civilians can move to safe areas. There are still thousands of civilians trapped in the area and these people need and deserve protections guaranteed under humanitarian law.

“It remains important that the camps for internally displaced persons are safe, and that aid agencies have access to these areas to provide food, medical supplies and other much needed support.

“A lasting, inclusive, political solution is what all in the international community are hoping will emerge, so that all Sri Lankans have the opportunity to achieve their legitimate aspirations,” Grant Robertson said.

ENDS

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