Lankan govt urges Red Cross to scale down ops

COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government has asked the Red Cross to scale down its operations in the country following the end of the civil war here.

The decision came amid growing tensions between the government and the dozens of aid groups in the country.

Some aid workers have been critical of the camps the government has set up in the north to hold nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians displaced by the fighting. In turn, the

government has told several aid groups to prepare to leave the country.

Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said today that since the fighting ended Sri Lanka did not need the “specialised services” provided by the International Committee for the Red Cross. The Red Cross manned entry and exit points between the government controlled territory and rebel-held areas. It helped transfer slain fighters between the two sides and evacuated injured civilians. The government crushed

the rebel group in May,

recapturing the north.