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Last updated: 15 August, 2008 - Published 11:37 GMT
 
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AI slams LTTE 'human shield'
 
Amnesty International vigil in London on Sri Lanka (Library photo)
AI says both the LTTE and Govt. are not taking measures to protect civilians
The human rights group, Amnesty International, says Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka are breaking international law by using civilians as a buffer against government forces.

AI’s researcher for Sri Lanka, Yolanda Foster, said there were cases where militants had forced people to stay in rebel-held areas, in an attempt to hamper army operations.

“The Tigers are keeping them in harm’s way and the government is not doing enough to ensure they receive essential assistance,” she said.

Govt. 'not doing enough'

Amnesty has accused both sides in Sri Lanka's long-running conflict of deliberately putting civilians at risk to pursue military objectives.

 The Tigers are keeping them in harm’s way and the government is not doing enough to ensure they receive essential assistance
 
AI researcher on Sri Lanka, Yolanda Foster

Nearly 70,000 people were displaced due to aerial bombardment and artillery attacks by government forces in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi, it said.

“In the absence of independent international monitors, Sri Lankan civilians lack protection and remain at the mercy of two forces with long records of abuse,” Ms. Foster added.

The human rights group urged both parties to allow civilians to move to safer areas and to receive humanitarian assistance.

On Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said tens of thousands of people had been displaced in recent fighting in northern Sri Lanka.

 
 
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