13 May 2009


The limitations on the ability of the United Nations to deal with crisis situations is again evidenced by the current situation in Sri Lanka, where the lives of tens of thousands of civilians are at risk through being caught up in the conflict between government soldiers and the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Belatedly Russia has set aside its concerns about UN interference in the internal affairs of another country (the argument frequently put forward by UN member states worried about international scrutiny of their own actions) which allowed the Security Council to appeal to the Sri Lankan government to exercise maximum restraint and to the Tamil Tiger rebels, or LTTE, to lay down their arms and abandon the use of violence to pursue their political aims.

Avaaz has identified Japan as potentially being a key to resolving the plight of the estimated 50,000 civilians still trapped between the opposing forces. As a key donor and its closest partner in the region, Japan has a powerful political and economic influence over the Sri Lankan government.

In the belief that Japan cares about its international reputation and that a flood of messages from abroad would encourage them to pressure the Sri Lankan government to immediately respond to protect civilians, Avaaz is organizing an online message to be sent to the Japanese Foreign minister.

You can access the petition via the Avaaz website.

Meanwhile the Catholic Bishops of Australia together with Catholic Religious Australia have expressed their prayerful solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka as the escalating civil war leads to a mounting humanitarian crisis. The full statement can be read at the Catholic religious Australia website.

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