The plight of the thousands of internally displaced people

A Statement from Catholic Bishops’ Conference In Sri Lanka is follows;

(September 29, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) At the plenary meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka (CBCSL) held on 22 September 2008 the Bishops shared their concerns about the plight of the thousands of internally displaced people as a result of the ongoing war in the districts of Mulaitivu and Kilinochchi.

We appreciate the efforts taken by the government to ensure that food and other essentials reach the internally displaced However, we also understand that sufficient stocks of food do not reach the people due to certain hindrances, Thousands of people are living under trees and open spaces without shelter anti access to water and sanitation difficulties in transporting essential commodities have resulted in fuel, food medicine, shelter materials etc being in short supply Education of the children has been disrupted It was noted that as a result of aerial bombing several innocent civilians have been killed. The trauma that the people, particularly the children, undergo is noted to be unprecedented.

Therefore, we earnestly urge the government and the LTTE that utmost care be taken to protect the lives of innocent civilians. It was noted that the LTTE is not permitting the civilians to come out of Mulakivu and Kilinochchi. This is a very unfortunate situation. We ask the LTFE not to hinder the innocent civilians from proceeding to safe areas as the war is escalating and the lives of these innocent people are greatly endangered The innocent civilians must not be used as human shields,

We strongly urge that every effort be made by the government to be conscious of this situation and meet the humanitarian needs and take meaningful steps to take the people out of this trapped situation. We also recommend that some alternate measures such as zones of peace be taken to ensure the safety of the innocent in the districts of Mulaktivu and Kilinochchi.

We plead that humanitarian laws be respected by everyone, and that institutions such as schools, hospitals and places of worship be carefully avoided in the combat
We wish to reiterate the position that we have always upheld that lasting peace can be realized only through a negotiated political solution which recognizes human dignity and equality ensuring the legitimate rights and aspirations of all citizens.

BishopVianne Fernando President
Bishop Norbert M. Andradi OMi
Secretary General
Catholic Bishops’ Conference Catholic Bishops’ Conference
- Sri Lanka Guardian