16 May, 2009

Stop the bloodbath !

A modern day bloodbath is unfolding on the small island of Sri Lanka, where a thousand civilians were reported killed over the weekend and tens of thousands of innocent people are literally at risk of being killed this week, as government and rebel forces battle it out over the last small patch of rebel held territory.

Now that the US has begun to increase its pressure, the solution to stopping this humanitarian disaster lies with Sri Lanka’s key donor and closest partner in the region -- Japan. It has powerful political and economic influence over the Sri Lankan government and a swing vote at the UN Security Council, which up until now has turned a blind eye to this mounting catastrophe.

Click here to send a message to the Japanese Foreign Minister, who is deciding his government's next steps. Japan cares about its international reputation and a flood of messages from abroad would encourage them to act. If Japan moves then the Sri Lankan government will be forced to immediately respond to protect civilians:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_bloodbath

As last weekend´s carnage testifies, every minute counts for the estimated 50,000 civilians still trapped inside the shrinking conflict zone and for those 200,000 more who are barely surviving in overcrowded camps. The International Committee of the Red Cross, which rarely makes public comment, called this conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil rebels, 'nothing short of catastrophic'.

Until now, the divided UN Security Council has abdicated their responsibility to protect Sri Lankans from war crimes and other atrocities. But in this conflict Japan cannot be ignored – it's powerful voice could tip the balance and influence the conflict dynamics, saving lives in the short-term and promoting peace and development in the long run.

Asia's longest-running civil war is entering its final stage – the only question is how many will die before it ends. Let´s send a powerful message urging Foreign Minister Nakasone to act responsibly and lead international efforts to push the Tamil rebels to release the remaining civilians, stop the government bombing and bring sustainable peace to Sri Lanka. Japan's political and economic weight means that they cannot be ignored:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_bloodbath

As other donor nations increase the pressure behind the scenes this week, a truly global citizens' outcry can further turn the heat on the Japanese government to use its leverage and push for a robust and concerted international action that stops the bloodshed and protect the Sri Lankan civilian population at risk.

Doctor reports hundreds of bodies being brought to hospital as UN says feared bloodbath has become reality - 11 May 2009 -

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/11/sri-lanka-civilian-deaths

Four leading international organisations call on Japan to play a more active role in confronting the unfolding catastrophe in Sri Lanka. Press release:

http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=6097&l=1&m=1

Full text of the letter at:

http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=6096&l=1&m=1

The US accuses Sri Lanka of causing “untold suffering” among civilians, and calls on rebels to release civilians stuck in the conflict zone:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/world/asia/23lanka.html

For information about the UN Security Council discussions on Sri Lanka:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article5817983.ece



Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.)

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