Red Cross condemns murder of staff

[TamilNet, Monday, 04 June 2007, 19:12 GMT]
In a joint press release issued by the ICRC, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society Colombo/Geneva Monday, the organizations strongly condemned the abduction and murder of two Sri Lanka Red Cross Society staff members on 1 June. ICRC "calls upon the Sri Lankan authorities to carry out an immediate and comprehensive investigation into the killings," the press release said.

Full text of the press release follows:

    "Sinnarasa Shanmugalingam (32) and Karthekesu Chandramohan (26) had worked for the Batticaloa branch of the Sri Lanka Red Cross for many years. They had been in Colombo attending a training workshop organized by the Sri Lanka Red Cross national headquarters. At about 6.45 p.m. on 1 June they were abducted from Fort railway station in Colombo by unknown men while waiting to return to Batticaloa. Their bodies were found on 2 June at the Dumbara Estate in Kiriella, Ratnapura district.

    "We are shocked by these brutal murders and wish to convey our sincere condolences to the family members and colleagues of the dead", said Sri Lanka Red Cross director general Neville Nanayakkara. At the same time, the Movement calls upon the Sri Lankan authorities to carry out an immediate and comprehensive investigation into the killings.

    The Movement reminds the parties to the conflict that murder is prohibited under international humanitarian law, and that they must respect the work of humanitarian agencies and refrain from any acts that might jeopardize humanitarian staff or activities. It also urges them to take all necessary measures to ensure that aid workers assisting the civilian population and persons not or no longer taking part in the hostilities are spared from attack and can move freely and safely.

    The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement will carry on with its conflict-related and post-tsunami work in Sri Lanka."


Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's Presidential Secretariat, in a media release said: "The timing of the abduction and later killing of the two Red Cross volunteer workers last weekend seems to be clearly aimed at discrediting both President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Government on the issue of Human Rights violations, and tarnishing the image of Sri Lanka abroad."


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