Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Help Stop the Bloodbath in Sri Lanka 50,000 innocent civilians are caught in the deadly crossfire of Sri Lanka's civil war. This raging battle is the last phase of a 26 year fight for Tamil independence on the small Asian island to the east of India. Over 1000 people were killed in just 48 hours last weekend. Sri Lanka's largest donor and major ally in the region, Japan, has the power to help put an end to this unfolding human catastrophe. That is why I've just written to Foreign Minister Nakasone urging Japan to insist that Sri Lanka's government and rebel groups ensure the safety of the civilians. Sending a message takes just a minute and can help to save lives. Please join me in clicking this link:

Jim ------------ Here's the original email from Avaaz: Dear friends, A modern day bloodbath is unfolding on the small island of Sri Lanka, where a thousand civilians were reported killed over the weekend and tens of thousands of innocent people are literally at risk of being killed this week as government and rebel forces battle it out over the last small patch of rebel held territory. Now that the US has begun to increase its pressure, the key to stopping this humanitarian disaster lies with Sri Lanka’s most significant donor and closest partner in the region -- Japan. It has powerful political and economic influence over the Sri Lankan government and a swing vote at the UN Security Council, which up until now has turned a blind eye to this mounting catastrophe. Click here to send a message to the Japanese Foreign Minister, who is deciding his government's next steps. Japan cares about its international reputation and a flood of messages from abroad would encourage them to act. If Japan moves then the Sri Lankan government will be forced to immediately respond to protect civilians: As last weekend´s carnage testifies, every minute counts for the estimated 50,000 civilians still trapped inside the shrinking conflict zone and for those 200,000 more who are barely surviving in overcrowded camps. The International Committee of the Red Cross, which rarely makes public comment, called this conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil rebels, 'nothing short of catastrophic'. Until now, the divided UN Security Council has abdicated their responsibility to protect Sri Lankans from war crimes and other atrocities. But in this conflict Japan cannot be ignored – its powerful voice could tip the balance and influence the conflict dynamics, saving lives in the short-term and promoting peace and development in the long run. Asia's longest-running civil war is entering its final stage – the only question is how many will die before it ends. Let´s send a powerful message urging Japan´s Foreign Minister to act responsibly and lead international efforts to push the Tamil rebels to release the remaining civilians, stop the government bombing and bring sustainable peace to Sri Lanka. Japan's political and economic weight means that they cannot be ignored: As other donor nations increase the pressure behind the scenes this week, a truly global citizens' outcry can further turn the heat on the Japanese government to use its leverage and push for a robust and concerted international action that stops the bloodshed and protect the Sri Lankan civilian population at risk. Thank you for sending your message today. With hope Luis, Brett, Alice, Graziela, Pascal, Ben, Ricken, Paula, Iain, Paul, Raj and the rest of the Avaaz Team

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