The Sri Lankan military has confined the opposition Tamil Tigers to a small strip of coastal land in northeastern Sri Lanka. The Tigers have been fighting since 1983 for an independent state for the Tamil minority in the north and east of the island. Trapped in the war zone with the Tigers are an estimated 50,000 civilians, who are being held by the Tigers as human shields.
The ICRC has called for security guarantees from both the Sri Lankan government and the Tigers so that it can safely deliver food and evacuate patients. The Tigers have offered a security guarantee to the ICRC in response. The Sri Lankan government has asked the ICRC to work things out with the Tigers; they haven’t offered any security guarantees, to my knowledge.
Both the ICRC and the Sri Lankan government acknowledge that the amount of food reaching the war zone is inadequate. The Sri Lankan government should work with the ICRC immediately so that sufficient food can be delivered to the war zone and all the sick and injured evacuated without delay.