The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has announced that its office in Vavuniya has been closed after the Sri Lankan government requested the organization to run its operations from Colombo.
The ICRC closed its office in Jaffna at the end of February and the Vavuniya office was the last office of the organization in the North.
“In its role as a neutral intermediary, the ICRC worked with the parties to the conflict to protect and assist the victims of the fighting, for example by facilitating the movement of medical services and the transfer of human remains,” explained Romain Cachemaille, the outgoing head of the Vavuniya Office in a statement issued by the ICRC.
“The ICRC also visited prisoners to assess their conditions and, working with our partners in the Sri Lankan Red Cross Society, assisted people injured or displaced in connection with hostilities.”
The ICRC has stated that it has been working in the Vavuniya area since 1989, when it first opened an office in Anuradhapura to help people affected by the security situation. In 1997, the ICRC established a permanent presence in the town of Vavuniya. Over the years, the organization extended its work to the surrounding districts of Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi and Mannar.