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Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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Humanitarian Catastrophe Unfolds in Sri Lanka April 17th, 2009

Human Rights Watch has posted a photo montage of the humanitarian catastrophe in the northern Vanni region of Sri Lanka. Human Rights Watch researcher Anna Neistat says both sides in Sri Lanka’s conflict are violating the laws of war, endangering the roughly 100,000 civilians trapped in a government-declared “no-fire zone.” Tamil Tiger (LTTE) rebels have prevented civilians from leaving the tiny strip of land, while government forces shell the area daily, leading to numerous casualties.

The photos in this slideshow are from a makeshift hospital in Putumattalan that was treating survivors of attacks on April 8 and 9, 2009. Many were women and children who were waiting in a food distribution line in Pokkanai when artillery shells hit.

Watch the video…

Religious Statements Decry Endangerment of Tamil Civilians in Sri Lankan Civil War February 10th, 2009

Oblates and others have joined the international condemnation of the tactics of both the Sri Lankan military and the LTTE that have endangered the lives of hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians. A list of statements is given below:

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Oblates and their People Caught in the Crossfire in Sri Lanka – Take Action Now! January 28th, 2009

An estimated 250,000 Tamil civilians are trapped in a small (250 sq mile) area of jungle in northeast Sri Lanka as the government military battles the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE). Six Oblates, who along with their people have moved for several months to avoid the fighting, are now trapped on the front lines.

An immediate cease fire, followed by the establishment of a corridor of safety must be established to enable the trapped population to escape to safety zones removed from the fighting.

Emails to Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa and others are urgently needed. Please take action today – click here to use the suggested letter to the President in our recent Action Alert.

No Safe Haven for Tamils in Sri Lanka January 23rd, 2009

A major military campaign by the Sri Lankan government to defeat the LTTE – the Tamil Tigers – is causing immense suffering and increasing civilian casualties among the Tamil population. Fleeing their homes to avoid the fighting, men, women and children have been forced into an increasingly small area in the northeast of the country, near Mullaithivu. With humanitarian workers told by the government to leave the Vanni (north) in September, food and medical supplies are in short supply and information is limited.

We continue to hear from priests and others who have remained in the area, and they are appealing for United Nations intervention to stop the bloodshed. Read the Open Letter to UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon from the Priests and Religious in the Wanni

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