Médecins Sans Frontières have refuted comments made by Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa that the organisation was allowed access in the final war zone in 2009, stating that despite repeated reuqests, access was denied.
Following comments made by the Defence Secretary to the Deccan Chronicle, MSF stated that in September 2008 they were issued a government directive asking them and other international organisations to leave Kilinochchi. They went on to state,
"Permission was sought from numerous ministries, including the Ministries of Health as well as Defense, but at no point was this request granted during the final stages of the conflict in late 2008 and 2009."
MSF also commented that it was only after May 2009 that they were able to provide assisstance in North Vavuniya and at an emergency field hospital in Menik Farm. They further clarified that "all of this activity was outside the battle zone".
The pass-system, which requires Tamil fisher folk to obtain permission from the military before setting out to sea, has now been re-introduced in Mannar, after being restarted in Jaffna earlier this month, reported Uthayan.