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Sri Lanka: Politics and Government

Volume 488: debated on Friday 27 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs by what means his Department assesses the security and humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka. (254626)

Much of the reporting on security and humanitarian issues is provided by our high commission in Colombo, which includes staff from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence. Our high commission also works with a number of national and international organisations on the ground. Given the nature of the conflict and limited access to the north of Sri Lanka, it is difficult to obtain reliable independent information of the current situation.

We remain seriously concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation and the impact on civilians.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of developments in the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka between 21 January and 29 January 2009. (254627)

The recent upsurge of fighting between the government of Sri Lanka and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelaam (LTTE) has worsened the situation for the over 200,000 internally displaced persons in northern Sri Lanka. There are increasing civilian casualties, including women and children. We are increasingly concerned about the ability of humanitarian agencies to deliver much needed supplies.

In a statement of 29 January 2009, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary expressed his extreme concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in northern Sri Lanka. He urged both parties to agree an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.