The New York Times

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Stories from The New York Times

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Even after declaring victory in Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war, the country’s leaders seem unable to distinguish between the enemy — the brutal but apparently vanquished Tamil Tiger separatists — and innocent bystanders. Despite appeals from Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, and from others, the government has not given international aid organizations full access to government-run camps, where an estimated 280,000 civilians are said to be in desperate need of food, water and medical care.

Ban and Children
Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, pressed Sri Lanka’s government on Saturday to grant international relief agencies “unhindered access” to refugee camps housing hundreds of thousands of displaced Tamils from Sri Lanka’s civil war.

Camps Oxfam Pic
Friday, May 22nd, 2009

COLOMBO— Sri Lanka’s government ignored mounting calls by international relief organizations on Friday for greater access to the country’s swelling refugee camps, as the military continued to weed out suspected former Tamil Tiger rebels hiding among civilians.

Prabhakharan on Stretcher
Thursday, May 21st, 2009

NEW DELHI — The Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Tuesday savored a victory that had eluded every Sri Lankan head of state before him: he declared on television that after more than 25 years, his troops had defeated one of the world’s most enduring guerrilla armies on the battlefield.

Prabhakaran's Corpse
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

COLOMBO— President Mahinda Rajapaksa called for national unity Tuesday as he declared victory in the country’s 26-year war against the Tamil Tiger rebels, but provided few details about how he planned to heal the wounds of a conflict that has left more than a generation of ethnic Tamil marginalized.

Gota and Nambiar
Friday, May 15th, 2009
HONG KONG — A senior United Nations envoy arrived in Sri Lanka on Friday for possible cease-fire talks with the government as tens of thousands of ethnic Tamil civilians remained in peril in what the Red Cross said was “an unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe.”
May 12 Hospital Attack
Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

HONG KONG — At least 50 people were killed Wednesday when a primary school in Sri Lanka that had been converted into a field hospital was shelled for the second day, news agencies reported. Dr. Thurairaja Varatharajah, the top government health official in the war zone, told The Associated Press that the attack killed at least 50 people, including patients and relatives, and wounded about 60 others. He said heavy shelling continued throughout the day.

Hospital After Bombing
Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
HONG KONG — A primary school that had been converted into a field hospital was reported to have been pounded by artillery strikes Tuesday, leaving at least 47 people dead and dozens more wounded.

The hospital is the last remaining medical facility serving civilians in the war zone in Sri Lanka, and it was not immediately clear if it had been demolished.

AP Photo - Dead and Wounded Civilians
Monday, May 11th, 2009

HONG KONG — With the United Nations saying a “bloodbath” is taking place in Sri Lanka, and with the government and Tamil rebels trading accusations over the deaths of hundreds of civilians from artillery attacks, a leading group of aid agencies said Monday that both sides had shown a “wanton disregard for human life” and pressed Japan to intervene in the growing crisis.

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Army troops in Sri Lanka are closing in on a dwindling band of Tamil Tiger separatists who are outgunned on an ever-narrowing battlefield. It would be a relief if this 25-year fight finally ends. In the meantime, tens of thousands of terrified civilians are trapped in the conflict zone — a strip of land about four miles long — and are running out of food and water. They must be allowed to leave.

Friday, March 20th, 2009

The already severe humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka is on the brink of catastrophe. It will take the quick arrival of humanitarian relief and high-level international political muscle to bring the nightmarish situation to an end and prevent a slaughter.

An estimated 150,000 civilians are now trapped in a tiny pocket of land between Sri Lankan military forces, whose artillery shells regularly fall among them, and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who shoot at them if they try to escape. Food, clean water and medical assistance are all increasingly scarce.

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Lasantha Wickramatunga, an extraordinarily courageous journalist, wrote his own obituary. After he was murdered on Jan. 8, his letter from the grave appeared in papers all over the world including his own, The Sunday Leader in Sri Lanka.