11 May 2009
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12235

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

SECRETARY-GENERAL, APPALLED AT KILLING OF HUNDREDS IN SRI LANKA, URGES GOVERNMENT


TO EXPLORE ALL OPTIONS TO BRING CONFLICT TO END WITHOUT FURTHER BLOODSHED


The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:


The Secretary-General is appalled at the killing of hundreds of civilians in Sri Lanka over the weekend.  Thousands of Sri Lankans have already died in the past several months due to the conflict, and more still remain in grave danger.


The Secretary-General has repeatedly called upon the parties to the conflict to stop using heavy-calibre weaponry, including mortars, in the areas with high civilian concentrations.  The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the continued use of heavy weapons in this situation.  The reckless disrespect shown by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for the safety of civilians has led to thousands of people remaining trapped in the area.


The Secretary-General once again calls on both sides, in the strongest terms possible, to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law.  The LTTE must immediately allow the remaining civilians in the conflict zone to leave.  He reminds the parties that the world is watching events in Sri Lanka closely, and will not accept further violations of international law.


The Secretary-General urges the Government of Sri Lanka to explore all possible options to bring the conflict to an end without further bloodshed and to make public the terms under which that can be achieved without further loss of civilian life, and for the LTTE to give sober and positive consideration of those terms.


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For information media • not an official record