Canada Expresses Concern About Civilians Trapped in Conflict in Sri Lanka

(No. 96, April 11, 2009) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

"Canada is deeply concerned about the safety of over 100,000 civilians trapped in the conflict zone in northern Sri Lanka. Both parties need to implement a humanitarian pause to ensure the safe and voluntary movement of civilians from combat zones, and to allow full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need.

"We have received disturbing reports of shelling in the government-declared no-fire zone. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) must stop preventing civilians from leaving remaining LTTE-controlled territory and allow freedom of movement to civilians under its control. Under Canadian law, the LTTE is listed as a terrorist entity. The LTTE must stop all acts that put civilian lives in danger.

"We are concerned about the well-being of civilians displaced by the conflict and in government-run camps. Canada calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement."

For past statements by Minister Cannon on Sri Lanka, please see the following documents:

Canada Supports Political Solution in Sri Lanka

Canada Deeply Concerned by Mounting Civilian Casualties in Sri Lanka

To learn more about Canada-Sri Lanka relations, please visit Canada-Sri Lanka Relations.

Please consult UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement for info.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874