Sri Lanka

Australia responds to growing humanitarian emergency in Sri Lanka

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The Australian Government will contribute $5.25 million to provide life-saving and other essential humanitarian services for those affected by the intensifying conflict in Sri Lanka.

We will contribute $3 million through the World Food Programme to provide emergency food aid to up to 400,000 people recently displaced and affected by the conflict, and for community-based food-for work programs for up to 390,000 people in the north and east.

We will provide $1 million through the International Committee of the Red Cross to help protect civilians from violations of international humanitarian law, and to allow the ICRC to visit detainees and act for families of missing persons.

We will contribute $1.25 million to UNICEF for provision of child protection services for displaced people and separated families. We will support UNICEF's water and sanitation program servicing up to 30,000 displaced families.

These humanitarian agencies are experienced partners in Sri Lanka and are delivering vital humanitarian assistance effectively. Our contributions bring total Australian humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka to $17.8 million in 2006/07.

Intensifying conflict in Sri Lanka has worsened an already grave humanitarian situation, with the north and east particularly affected. The hostilities have created food insecurity and other humanitarian needs in the civilian population of affected areas.

Abductions, extra-judicial killings and forced recruitment occur daily. All parties to the conflict are violating international humanitarian law on a regular basis.

The Australian Government is concerned by the trend towards increasing violence and the growing environment of impunity surrounding human rights violations in Sri Lanka.

We call on all parties to the conflict in Sri Lanka to resume peace talks without delay to seek a solution which addresses the legitimate aspirations of all Sri Lankans.

Media contacts: Malcolm Cole (Minister's Office) 02 6277 7500
AusAID (Public Affairs) 0417 680 590