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Last updated: 09 April, 2008 - Published 14:45 GMT
 
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'Stop' attacks against civilians
 
Minister Fernandopulle's body
AI has condemned the attack that killed minister Fernandopulle
Condemning the suicide bomb attack that killed a senior minister and many civilians, the Amnesty International (AI) has called for warring parties to stop all attacks against civilians.

The AI statement issued on Wednesday has accused the Tamil Tigers of carrying out many of the atrocities that targeted civilians.

At least 14 people, including Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, were killed and over 90 people sustained injuries at suicide bomb attack at a marathon event in Gampaha on Sunday.

The government accused the Tamil Tigers of carrying out the attack.

Fighting in Madhu

Quoting figures from ICRC, the AI says nearly 200 civilians were killed within weeks since government withdrew from the truce agreed with the LTTE.

Madhu shrine
AI says parties to the conflict should protect cultural property

"More recently, the LTTE has been deliberately targeting civilians in an extended series of attacks," the AI statement said.

Amnesty International has also raised serious concerns over ongoing fighting around the sacred Madhu shrine.

"Under international humanitarian law, parties to armed conflicts, must take special care to protect cultural property, including buildings dedicated to religion, from damage," the AI said.

The rights watchdog has urged the LTTE to stop immediately any direct or indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

The government should, the AI said, ensure that all security force personnel respect obligations under international human rights humanitarian law.

TMVP 'released children'

Sri Lanka ruling party's political ally, Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) has released eleven children under their ranks, United Nations said.

UNICEF
UNICEF says TMVP has at least 150 more children in their ranks

In a press release issued on Wednesday, UNICEF said it welcomed the release as a positive step towards ending the practise of child recruitment by armed groups.

Highlighting the government's role in securing the release, Philippe Duamelle, head of UNICEF in Sri Lanka, urged all armed groups to release all children in their ranks.

The TMVP lead by Pillayan is contesting the eastern Provincial elections with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

The TMVP, which is accused of gross human rights violations by the UN and many other international rights groups, recently won the elections for local bodies in Batticaloa.

 
 
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