Dialogue with LTTE vital for humanitarian ops. -ICRC

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 12 September 2001, 16:51 GMT]
"The LTTE is a major party to the conflict. As such the present dialogue with the LTTE is vital for the continuance of the ICRC's humanitarian services to the people in Vanni and the rest of the country," said Mr.Harasha Gunawardene, the ICRC's press officer, addressing a press conference held Wednesday morning at Trincomalee Seven Islands Hotel.

A section of Jaffna students who participated in the netball tournament at Veyangoda, Colombo returning to Jaffna by vessel "City of Trinco" wednesday evening.

"The ICRC has taken no decision yet to shift its sub delegation from Mallavi in the current context. The ICRC is examining all aspects and exploring all possible ways and means of continuing its present dialogue with the LTTE whether be it in Mallavi, Puthukudiyiruppu or Kilinochchi to facilitate", replied Mr.Harasha Gunawardene, spokesman of the ICRC to a question by a journalist whether the ICRC was contemplating to shift its Office of Sub Delegation from Mallavi to Kilinochchi where resettlement program was in progress.

Mr. Daniel Schriber, Head of the Sub Delegation of ICRC in Trincomalee outlined the activities of the International Committee of Red Cross carried out in the district during the first half of year 2001.

Jaffna bound passengers in vessel "MC City of Trinco" which sailed to Kankesanthurai Wednesday evening from Trincomalee.

He said: "During the first six months of this year the ICRC visited 61 detainees for the first time in permanent and transitory places of detention in the Trincomalee district. 113 detainees were re-visited. Altogether 174 detainees were visited. The ICRC carried out 60 visits to 07 permanent and transitory places of detention. During the period under review the ICRC received 26 requests from families to visit their next of kin who had been arrested in relation with the conflict. Thirteen tracing requests for persons reported missing are still pending with the ICRC and one tracing case were opened."

"As a promoter of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the ICRC during the first six months of this year conducted 34 sessions for 3479 combatants of the Sri Lanka Army, Navy, Police and home guards in the Trincomalee district. In addition, ICRC organized a two day workshop on Law Armed Conflict (LOAC) for thirty naval officers at the Trincomalee Naval Academy," Mr. Schriber said.

Mr.Daniel Schriber, Head of the Sub Delegation of the ICRC in Trincomalee (centre) Mr.Harasha Gunawardene, Press Officer of the ICRC headquarters (left) and Mr.M.Pushparajan, Dissemination Officer, Trincomalee ICRC's office(right) at the press conference held Wednesday.

Mr.Schriber further said, "For the first time in the Trincomalee, the ICRC dissemination team also had the opportunity to conduct sessions to LTTE members, both from its political and military wings. More such sessions are planned for the second part of this year. In addition, 23 sessions were conducted for 1,295 civil and judicial officers, doctors, health workers, NGO personnel and teachers in the district."

Referring to the protection to passenger vessel 'MV City of Trinco', Mr.Schriber said that since August 2000 the ICRC is providing protection to the passenger vessel which sails between Trincomalee and Jaffna peninsula twice weekly. From January to June this year the ICRC provided protection to 32,796 passengers, up and down, through 49 voyages, including 363 internally displaced persons (IDP) from Vavuniya and Mannar who went back to Jaffna.

Journalists attended the press conference held Wednesday with ICRC officers.


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