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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 08/14/2008
SRI LANKA
Thousands of refugees living in the woods; army is blocking aid
by Melani Manel Perera
More than 75,000 people have been made refugees since June, while fighting intensifies between the army and the Tamil Tigers. The army is blocking humanitarian aid, claiming that it is going to the rebels. Bishop of Mannar: the safety of the population must be guaranteed, and their food needs must be met.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - According to official figures from the United Nations, more than 75,000 people have fled their homes in the north of Sri Lanka over the last two and a half months. To these must be added the many already displaced over years of fighting. The area controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is a battlefield where the population is fleeing from one place to another, and where it is even difficult to bring aid from humanitarian organizations.

The National Peace Council (NPC), a group that works for the rights of all the communities and seeks a peaceful solution to ethnic problems, explains that it is above all the army blocking the sending of aid to the people, out of fear that the supplies are going to the LTTE. Thousands of people are living outdoors, under the trees.

"We hold that the welfare of the civilian population must not be compromised by military exigencies", the NPC says. "They must be safeguarded from collateral damage and not be used as human shields in any circumstance. We call on the government not to use its air and artillery power to attack areas in which civilians are residing". "We also call for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor, with the cooperation of UN agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, whereby people who wish to leave the areas of combat are permitted by both the government and LTTE to do so in accordance with the basic human right of freedom of movement. The people who leave the areas of combat should also be treated with respect and dignity, and permitted freedom of movement, without being confined to welfare camps as occurring at present at Kalimottai and at Sirukandal, as pointed out by Bishop Joseph in his statement".

The government says it has proof that most of the humanitarian aid for civilians has been taken by the LTTE. Meanwhile, the army is gaining ground and retaking villages: yesterday, it took Mulankavil, described by the defense minister as a "Tamil Tiger stronghold".

The bishop of Mannar, Jospeh Rayappu, has asked the government to study how it can guarantee security and safety for civilians in the northern part of the country, and permit the United Nations and humanitarian groups to bring them the food they need. He is also asking that a "neutral zone" be set up in each of the three districts where fighting is underway, a proposal that has been seconded by the NPC.


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See also
11/26/2008 SRI LANKA
Situation worsens for 300,000 refugees in Wanni
by Melani Manel Perera
03/26/2009 SRI LANKA
Catholic and Anglican bishops: civilians desperate in Vanni, aid needed immediately
by Melani Manel Perera
04/25/2009 SRI LANKA
Vanni, government asks for international aid. Tamils issue accusations against authorities
by Melani Manel Perera
03/13/2009 SRI LANKA
Bishop of Jaffna: more than 100,000 civilians risk annihilation
by Melani Manel Perera
03/19/2009 SRI LANKA
Religious visit the refugees, prisoners in the camps
by Melani Manel Perera

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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