Following a government order to foreign aid agencies to scale down operations, the Red Cross on Monday announced the closure of four offices in Sri Lanka. The closure came amid growing tensions between the government and the dozens of aid groups in the country. Some aid workers have been critical of the government camps in the north that hold nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians displaced during the last months of fighting in the country’s 25-year civil war.
offices in the Akkaraipattu, Batticaloa, Muttur and Trincomalee areas in the eastern province were shut. The statement did not mention ICRC operations in the north where there are some 300,000 war-displaced civilians.
Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said earlier this month all international relief agencies, including the Red Cross, had been asked to scale down operations following the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels.