Humanitarian Concerns in Sri Lanka (Taken Question)

Taken Question
Washington, DC
May 13, 2009

Question: Some are arguing that the situation in Sri Lanka fits UN provisions regarding the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and are calling for a response under this provision. What is the U.S. view on Sri Lanka and R2P?

Answer: The United States remains deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka, and we continue to urge the LTTE to lay down its arms and allow the civilians trapped in the safe zone to leave. We further reiterate our desire to see the Government of Sri Lanka stop the indiscriminate shelling that has resulted in the loss of hundreds of innocent lives and abide by its April 27 commitments to end major combat operations, and the use of heavy weapons in the conflict zone.

The United States and other concerned UN member states recently met to discuss the situation. The United Nations is playing an important role on the ground in Sri Lanka, and we urge both sides of this conflict to take the steps necessary to protect civilians and allow humanitarian access for the United Nations and other organizations to address the urgent humanitarian needs.

# # #


PRN: 2009/456