In addition to its annual budget of CHF 6.5 million allocated to Sri Lanka, Switzerland will now provide additional emergency aid of CHF 1 million for the civilian population affected by the conflict in the north of the country. This aid will be used to co-finance programmes run by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
The Sri Lankan ministry of health has also received a contribution of CHF 200,000 in the form of medicines, and CHF 200,000 has been allocated to the NGO World Concern for medical care of civilian victims of the conflict. Two experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid corps have been seconded to the UNHCR and the WFP. This aid comes on top of the contributions that Switzerland is planning to make in 2009 for reconstruction, development, human security, conflict resolution and the promotion of peace in Sri Lanka.
The situation of tens of thousands of internally displaced persons who are forced to remain in the combat zone is disastrous, and the plight of displaced persons in transit zones and in closed internment camps is also very worrying. Switzerland renews its appeal to all parties to comply with international humanitarian law. The last appeal by the FDFA dates back to 21 April and remains valid.
Switzerland also appeals for cooperation between Sri Lanka and the international community. It is essential that humanitarian actors should be able to provide support to vulnerable populations in the north of Sri Lanka rapidly and without hindrance.
Further Information: Press and Information Service FDFA, Tel. 031 322 31 53
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