Sri Lanka asks ICRC to scale down operations
Colombo: Sri Lanka has asked a top global humanitarian organisation engaged in relief operations in the north of the country to scale down their presence and work in the in former conflict areas like Jaffna and Vavuniya.
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 reporters.
"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.
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