'UN alarmed over increasing civilian casualties in Sri Lanka' | world | Hindustan Times
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'UN alarmed over increasing civilian casualties in Sri Lanka'

world Updated: Jan 30, 2009 10:03 IST
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The United Nations human rights has expressed serious concern over reports of deteriorating conditions of some 250,000 civilians trapped in war torn northern Sri Lanka, increasing civilian casualties, massive displacement and alleged human rights abuses.

"The perilous situation of civilians after many months of fighting, multiple displacements and heavy rains and flooding is extremely worrying," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has said.

Pillay is the latest UN official, along with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other heads of UN agencies, to express her concerns directly to the Government.

"We are all seriously alarmed by the situation," she said, "as are many of the NGOs and other organisations operating in Sri Lanka."

An estimated 250,000 civilians are trapped in areas of northern Sri Lanka where fighting continues between Government forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Nearly 5,000 people have managed to cross the zones held by the group to Government-controlled areas since late November, UN said.

Gordon Weiss, spokesman for the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Sri Lanka, said UN international staff members yesterday accompanied a convoy of hundreds of wounded civilians, away from the front lines.

UN staff, he added, witnessed the injury and deaths of dozens of people over the weekend at close quarters, while the hospitals in the area are being overwhelmed by the numbers of wounded.