UN: Sri Lanka Conflict a 'Bloodbath'

Aid groups urge Japan to push for Security Council action
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 11, 2009 10:46 AM CDT
Sri Lankan ethnic Tamil victims of a shell attack wait outside their makeshift tents in Tiger controlled No Fire Zone in Mullivaaykaal, Sri Lanka, Sunday, May 10, 2009.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – After intense weekend fighting, the UN says the battle between rebels and the government in Sri Lanka has become a “bloodbath,” the New York Times reports. A government doctor estimates 1,000 civilians died in the heavy shelling of the small coastal area occupied by a few hundred Tamil Tigers and surrounded by government troops. Some 50,000 civilians are believed to be stuck in the fray with few basic resources.

The government and rebels are blaming each other for deaths among civilians, who are mostly Tamils, the Times notes. “We are doing what is possible,” said the doctor. “The situation is overwhelming; nothing is within our control.” Top aid agencies including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have sent a letter to Japan urging the country to push the UN Security Council to take official action.