‘Unimaginable Humanitarian Catastrophe’ Unfolding in Sri Lanka

A UN envoy has said the fighting in Sri Lanka, which has continually targetted unarmed civilians and civilian infrastructure and has left an estimated 190,000 without shelter, food, water or adequate medical care, could become “an unthinkable humanitarian catastrophe“, according to the Red Cross. A UN spokesman in Colombo has warned there could be a “bloodbath” as government forces escalate the intensity of their fight to seize the last remaining territory held by the rebels.

The UN spokesman said the slaughter of further numbers of ethnic Tamil Sri Lankan civilians “seems inevitable” as he charges the government appears to have “no end except the end-game”: the UN has warned the Sri Lankan government against indiscriminate military action in civilian areas, and today there have been calls for an independent investigation, including possible charges of war crimes and/or crimes against humanity for the still unconfirmed but reportedly high number of civilian dead.

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Journalists Around the World at Risk of Violence or Imprisonment

As the world marked international Press Freedom Day yesterday, there was growing concern about the conditions facing journalists around the world. Reporters without Borders (RSF) has expressed concern a Tibetan editor jailed in China may be suffering torture, the American journalist Roxana Saberi is said to be frail due to an ongoing hunger strike in protest of her 8 year sentence for ‘espionage’ in Iran, and numerous heads of state are listed as ‘predators’ working against press freedom.

The situation in Iraq continues to be extremely grave, with over 200 journalists and media workers killed since the 2003 invasion. Violence is ongoing and the government of Nouri al-Maliki is reported to be putting mounting pressure on reporters to be less critical of government.

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