Thursday, August 10, 2006

UN Asked to Investigate Massacre of 17 Aid Workers

UN Asked to Investigate Massacre of 17 Aid Workers:

UNITED NATIONS - A prominent international humanitarian organization is calling for the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate the killings of a group of aid workers in Sri Lanka.

Last Friday, 17 humanitarian workers, four of them women, were killed in the northeastern Sri Lankan town of Muttur, where government forces are engaged in heavy battle with the rebel Tamil Tigers.

The deceased workers were associated with the Paris-based international organization Action Against Hunger (ACF), which has been operating in the strife-torn country for the past 27 years.

They were found dead, lying face-down in their office compound, according to local aid activists. All of them--sanitation experts, engineers, agronomists, and project managers--were involved in post-tsunami relief and could not be evacuated due to the fighting.

Since both the Sri Lankan army and Tamil fighters have denied involvement in the incident and have laid the blame on each other, the group's officials say they have no option but to turn to the UN for help.

It's baffling to us. We don't understand why it happened,' Cathy Skoula, the group's top official in New York, told OneWorld.

Skoula said the aid workers employed by her organization had no tensions, whatsoever, with either side involved in the armed conflict in Sri Lanka.

'We are transparent,' she added. 'We don't hide anything.'

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