Congress studies Sri Lanka crisis

Voice of America reports that yesterday the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission held a meeting to discuss of the military conflict in Sri Lanka and what the United Nations and human rights groups call a dire humanitarian situation.

“The particular case we are exploring this afternoon, Sri Lanka, is a situation where both the government forces and the Tamil Tigers have abdicated their responsibility to protect from mass atrocities civilian non-combatant who are caught in the cross-fire of war,” said co-chair Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.).

“It has therefore fallen to the international community, and especially humanitarian organizations like UNHCR and the ICRC, along with a handful of NGO’s, to try to assure their safety,” McGovern said.

Also Tuesday, the United States appealed for protection of civilians trapped in northern Sri Lanka as the 26-year conflict between the Colombo government and Tamil Tiger rebels of the LTTE reaches what the State Department calls a “decisive point.” More than 60,000 Tamil civilians are believed to be trapped in the last remaining strip of territory held by the rebels.

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