Intended for healthcare professionals


Red Cross staff witness “humanitarian catastrophe” in Sri Lanka

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 19 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2051
  1. Peter Moszynski
  1. 1London

    As the war in Sri Lanka enters its last stages, with government forces over-running the last pockets of Tamil Tiger resistance, there is mounting concern for the welfare of tens of thousands of civilians who have been caught in the crossfire.

    Amnesty International’s Asia director, Sam Zarifi, told the BMJ that the civilians were being used as “human shields” by the insurgents and shelled by the military and that those who escape are being held in internment camps, without access to international assistance or monitoring while they are screened to weed out suspected rebel fighters.

    Some 250 000 people have fled the fighting in the past month but thousands remained trapped inside the shrinking perimeter, forcibly prevented from leaving by rebel diehards, who regarded them as the only protection they …

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