Sri Lanka

UN experts condemn the murder of two workers of the Sri Lankan Red Cross

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7 June 2007, Geneva: - The following statement was issued today by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, Hina Jilani, and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston.

We strongly condemn the abduction and murder of two workers of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society that occurred in Colombo on 1 June 2007 and offer our sincere condolences to their families.

This is another outrageous act in an apparent trend of deliberate targeting of aid workers, which severely jeopardizes and impedes their ability to deliver humanitarian assistance in a secure environment. We note the Government's public commitment to investigate these killings, but urge this process be expedited, with international assistance, as appropriate. We remain concerned that the killings of humanitarian workers, including the 17 workers of Action contre la Faim, in August 2006, remain unsolved.

We urge the Government, the LTTE and other armed groups to take all measures to protect aid workers and provide a secure and conducive environment to the functioning of humanitarian assistance.