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UN envoy concerned for civilians; Rajapaksa assures action

SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assured the UN's humanitarian chief of all efforts to get the conflict-hit Tamil civilians in the north rehabilitated to safe areas, as the latter expressed concern over the plight of thousands of people trapped in war zone.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Colombo
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2009 03:19 PM IST

Rajapaksa told the visiting UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Sir John Holmes, on Saturday that his

government would make all efforts to bring out the civilianstrapped in the war in the North Wanni and rehabilitate them.

The meeting followed Holmes' visit to the camps of Internally Displaced People (IDP) at Vavuniya on Saturday. The

UN envoy said "tens of deaths and more injuries" of civilians are taking place daily inside the northern Wanni region.

Holmes told reporters that he was concerned over restrictions on freedom of movement of the displaced.

Wrapping up his three-day visit to the island, he asked the government to expedite registration process of refugees at
the earliest to ameliorate the lot of the civilians.

Appealing to the government and LTTE to ensure civilians were spared from the war, he said: "I urge both sides to
do everything they can for a peaceful and orderly end to it."

However, Holmes said he agreed with Sri Lankan Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe that it was no mean task
to distinguish the civilians from the LTTE cadres.

Sir John announced that the UN was donating a further $10 million for the welfare of the IDPs.

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