Sri Lanka: war ends leaving thousands of displaced people

The Tamil Tigers have finally surrendered this week and the conflict that has caused so much bloodshed over the last 25 years seems to have come to an end, Fides reports.

Following the confirmed death of their leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, the last of the relentless Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eedam laid down their arms in the face of the offensive attacks of Colombo's Army, which had reduced the the last of the guerrillas to a space of about one kilometers of territory.

There was jubilation among the people of Sri Lanka, as President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced the defeat of the Tamil rebels.

In the tragic recent stages of the conflict, the army accused the rebels of using civilians as human shields and announced the “liberation” of 50,000 civilians who had been caught in the area of crossfire. The Tamil rebels, however, accused the army of indiscriminate bombing, which has caused many civilian deaths.

Both sides have taken part in the crime. From January 20 to May 7, a UN report says nearly 7,000 civilians were killed.

A strong appeal for the protection of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka was launched yesterday by Pope Benedict XVI in the “Regina Caeli” held in Saint Peter's Square. Benedict XVI addressed the opposing sides, appealing to them to facilitate the evacuation of the civilians,” guaranteeing their “safety and security.” The Pope added: “I lift up my prayers to the Lord that he will hasten the day of reconciliation and peace.”

The humanitarian aid organizations are doing all they can to meet the urgent alimentary and medical needs of the refugees. Caritas has invested considerable resources in the effort, thanks to the support of the Caritas Internationalis network for refugee assistance. The Catholic Church, in recent months, has asked the government to protect the dignity and rights of Tamil citizens, who are fully a part
of the nation in spite of their being a minority group.

Source: Fides

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