Sri Lanka’s expulsion of top UN Official condemned

India and other donors asked to ensure access to the UN and international agencies

New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights today condemned the expulsion of Mr James Elder, the Communications Chief of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Sri Lanka by the Sri Lankan government over his remarks about the Internally Displaced People (IDPs), in particular, the conditions of children in camps. On 5 September 2009, Mr Elder was asked to leave within two weeks.

“This is an obnoxious attempt to turn the IDP camps into closed door slaughter houses where children are being killed as a result of manufactured starvation and where thousands of ethnic Tamils have been disappearing at the hands of the Sri Lankan army.” - stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of ACHR.

Over 13,000 Tamil IDPs have disappeared according to various UN reports and only about 2,000 detainees are subject to visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Asian Centre for Human Rights urged the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and international donors including India, which sanctioned Rs 500 crores for the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, to demand revocation of expulsion of Mr James Elder, full and unrestricted access to the IDP camps by the United Nations and international agencies, and respect for human rights and humanitarian law standards by the Sri Lankan government.

“Unless international donors ensure respect for full and unrestricted access, they shall be condoning and contributing to continued flagrant violations of international human rights and humanitarian law standards by the Sri Lankan government.” - further added Mr Chakma.

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