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Robertson: Protection Of Civilians Must Be Priority In Sri Lankan Conflict

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Grant Robertson
Grant Robertson

29 January 2009 - Labour Associate Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Grant Robertson today endorsed the call of the UN Secretary-General for absolute priority to be given to the protection of civilians caught up in the conflict in Northern Sri Lanka.

"It is vital that both sides in this conflict allow civilians to leave the combat zone safely, and that the Government ensure that there is a secure safe haven for civilians," Grant Robertson said.

There are media reports that up to 300 civilians have been killed, and 1100 injured in the latest round of fighting between government forces and the LTTE (Tamil Tigers). There are estimated to be approximately 250,000 civilians in the region.

"This has the makings of a serious humanitarian crisis. Both the UN and the Red Cross are struggling to reach those in need because of the fighting.

"The Red Cross is reporting that hospitals and ambulances have been hit by shelling. There is an urgent need for both sides to respect the 'no fire zones' which will allow relief workers and supplies to get through to those who need them," Grant Robertson said.

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