Sri Lanka asks aid agencies to scale down operations
Sri Lanka asked International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other aid agencies to scale down their operation amid increasing pressure from international community to ease the restrictions on aid agencies.
Sri Lanka has asked aid agencies to scale down operations as the island nation's "challenges are now different" with the end of a 25-year war, the minister of disaster management and human rights said on Thursday.
The move comes amid increasing pressure from the international community to relax restrictions on aid agencies' access to camps which have housed nearly 300,000 internally displaced people from one of Asia's longest modern wars.
It is to be noted that ICRC had spoken of an unfolding "humanitarain catastrophe" in the war zone and had requested for "unimpeded access" to the facilities of the IDPs.
ICRC will close few of its offices but "will continue its dialogue with the Sri Lankan government on issues of humanitarian concern"
"However, the ICRC will continue its dialogue with the Sri Lankan government on issues of humanitarian concern."
As fighting escalated in the final days of the conflict with the Tamil Tigers, the ICRC had spoken of an unfolding "humanitarian catastrophe" in the war zone amid a surge in civilian casualties.
The ICRC has had a strained relationship with the Sri Lankan government which accused the Geneva-based charity of inciting panic over civilian deaths.
The two were also at loggerheads over the issue of camps for the displaced, with the ICRC demanding "unimpeded access" to the facilities.