UN Condemns Killings of Aid Workers in Sri Lanka
UN Condemns Execution-Style Killings of Aid Workers in Sri Lanka; Urges Probe
New York, Aug 7 2006 4:00PM
The United Nations today strongly condemned the execution-style killings of 15 aid workers from French organization Action against Hunger in northeastern Sri Lanka, calling on the authorities to apprehend those responsible and urging an immediate cessation of hostilities between Tamil separatists and the Government on the strife-torn island.
The aid workers, who were providing assistance to survivors from the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, were killed in the town of Mattur, according to the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Country Team for Sri Lanka, which is chaired by the UN’s humanitarian coordinator but also brings together non-governmental aid agencies.
“The country team said the killings were ‘a totally reprehensible act’ and called for an independent investigation. It added that many civilians have been killed since fighting started in the area and called for a cessation of hostilities,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters in New York.
UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery and former United States President Bill Clinton expressed his shock at the killings, extending condolences to the affected families and urging the authorities to do “everything possible to apprehend the perpetrators of this crime and to bring them to justice.”
“I hope that this wanton act will not deter the critical efforts of aid workers in Sri Lanka, who have operated with courage and determination under difficult circumstances,” he said in a statement.
Last Friday, the UN refugee agency expressed deep concern about the plight of civilians caught up in the violence between the Government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who have been fighting for more than 20 years in a conflict that has already claimed some 60,000 lives.