Lanka asks ICRC to scale down their operations

SriLanka asked Red Cross to scale down their presence in former conflict areas of Jaffna and Vayunia without giving any reason.

Colombo: Sri Lankan govt has asked
the Red Cross to scale down their presence and operation in
former conflict areas of Jaffna and Vayunia without giving any
reason, the ICRC said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross vacated
their offices in Eastern province last year following a
similar request by the government.

"We have been asked to close the offices in Jaffna and
Vavuniya and requested to operate from the head office in
Colombo," Sarasi Wijeratne, spokesperson for the ICRC told

"No reason has been given for the government decision.
However we will discuss with the government on ICRC`s work in
Sri Lanka," she was quoted as saying in weekly newspapers.

During the war which ended 18 months ago, the ICRC
played a crucial role of manning no man`s land separating
former LTTE held regions and areas of government control and
carrying out humanitarian activities.

In the final phase of the war ICRC and UN agencies
found their access restricted to the embattled regions.

Earlier in the month the government made it compulsory
for the INGOs/NGOs get registered and obtain certificate to
operate from the ministry of defence.

"INGOs/NGOs shall not be entitled to avoid
registration claiming diplomatic immunity," the government
Information Department said.

After a 30 year long military campaign, the Sri Lankan
military defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009.

The civil war caused significant hardships for the
population and the economy of the country, with an estimated
70,000 people killed during its course.