UN HR Chief claims serious violations of international law committed in Sri Lanka conflict

Despite the Government’s designation of safe — or “no-fire” — zones for civilians, repeated shelling has continued inside those zones, according to information made available to OHCHR. Other areas holding civilians have also been shelled. OHCHR said a range of credible sources have indicated that more than 2,800 civilians may have been killed and more than 7,000 injured since 20 January, many of them inside the no-fire zones. The casualties are believed to include hundreds of children killed and more than a thousand injured.

Even after the Government’s announcement on 24 February that heavy weapons would no longer be fired into the no-fire zones, close to 500 people were reportedly killed and more than a thousand injured in these zones. Of these deaths, the great majority have been attributed to the use of heavy weapons. Overall, since 20 January, more than two thirds of the reported deaths and injuries have occurred in the no-fire zones.

– Statement by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Navi Pillai. Read the entire statement here, and the rebuttal by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights here.

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