February 02, 2009

Kerry and Lugar Concerned About Humanitarian Situation in Sri Lanka

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D - Mass.) and Ranking Committee Minority Member, Senator Richard Lugar, issued the following statement today expressing concern about the deteriorating security situation in Sri Lanka:

"Senator Lugar and I are greatly concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation, including the challenges facing approximately 250,000 internally displaced persons trapped in a 100-square-mile area by fighting in the Vanni area of Sri Lanka. This weekend's repeated shelling of a hospital, in which several civilians were killed, is only the most recent of many attacks on noncombatants. We urge the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to immediately take all necessary steps to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian access. Moreover, we are deeply troubled by comments by the Sri Lankan Government threatening to expel foreign diplomats, aid agencies, and journalists. Reporters have already experienced physical attacks and intimidation, including the latest brazen assassination of renowned journalist Lasantha Wickrematunga. Together, we urge the Government of Sri Lanka to protect all of its citizens and conduct swift, full, and credible investigations into attacks on journalists and other civilians.

Press Contact

Frederick Jones (Foreign Relations Committee), (202) 228-2950