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President and CEO

Samuel A. Worthington

Chair February 11, 2009
Charles MacCormack,
Save the Children

The Honorable Hillary R. Clinton
Vice Chair Secretary of State
Ritu Sharma Fox,
Women Thrive Worldwide U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Treasurer Washington, DC 20520
Amy Coen,
Population Action International
Dear Madam Secretary,

Board of Directors On behalf of InterAction members, please accept our congratulations on your
Kenneth Bacon, Refugees International confirmation as our new Secretary of State. The U.S. international NGO
David Beckmann, Bread for the World
Carol Bellamy, World Learning community looks forward to working with the State Department and the new
Sekyu Chang, leadership at USAID on a wide range of issues.
Korean American Sharing Movement
Julius Coles, Africare
Helene D. Gayle, CARE USA Sadly, my first formal request, on behalf of our members, is to express our grave
Anne Lynam Goddard,
Christian Children’s Fund concern about the humanitarian crisis in northern Sri Lanka. We appreciate your
Lee H. Hamilton, joint efforts with Foreign Minister David Miliband and the Tokyo Co-Chairs to
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Neal Keny-Guyer, Mercy Corps protect civilians trapped in the war zone, and commend the ongoing efforts of
Elizabeth Lathem, US Committee for UNDP Ambassador Robert Blake. We urge the U.S. government to continue to speak out
Jo Luck, Heifer International
John McCullough, Church World Service strongly on the imperative to protect civilians and to make this issue an immediate
Mary Ellen McNish, American Friends service diplomatic priority during your upcoming visit to Japan and with other
Hugh Parmer, American Refugee Committee governments and the U.N. It is important to impress upon all parties the urgent
Daniel E. Pellegrom, Pathfinder International need for meaningful momentum towards a lasting solution to the Sri Lankan ethnic
Linda Pfeiffer, INMED
Robert Radtke, conflict.
Episcopal Relief and Development
Yolonda C. Richardson,
Centre for Development and Population Activities We urgently request that the United States Government use its influence to:
Carter Roberts, World Wildlife Fund
George Rupp,
International Rescue Committee 1. Press for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire respected by all parties
Zainab Salbi, leading to a comprehensive and permanent cessation of hostilities;
Women for Women International
Ron Sconyers, Physicians for Peace 2. Restore unrestricted humanitarian access for staff of international NGOs
Kathy Spahn, Helen Keller International and ensure that the assistance is delivered consistent with humanitarian
Richard Stearns, World Vision
Tsehaye Teferra, laws and principles;
Ethiopian Community Development Council 3. Press the U.N. to work for a permanent ceasefire and resumption of peace
Emily Untermeyer, Amigos de las Americas
Sam Worthington (Ex-Officio) talks; and
4. Press for the deployment of independent human rights monitors to the
internment camps through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human
1400 16th St., NW Rights.
Suite 210
Washington, DC 20036
PHONE: (202) 667-8227 As the International Committee of the Red Cross and other organizations have
FAX: (202) 667-8236 noted, the humanitarian situation is critical. As you know, the fighting has
significantly escalated in the past few weeks. Reports indicate that hundreds have
been killed and more than 250,000 civilians are trapped in a 250-square kilometer
area, living in a state of fear and insecurity. Communications and access by road to
the region have been cut, resulting in serious shortages of food, medicine and


InterAction is a membership association of US private voluntary organizations engaged in international humanitarian efforts including
relief, development, refugee assistance, environment, population, public policy, and global education.
essential supplies. The last functioning hospital closed following heavy artillery attacks, forcing patients and
staff to flee. The Sri Lankan government has severely restricted the operations of U.N. and international aid
organizations. Access to victims in the war zone occurs only every few days.

While the government of Sri Lanka has declared a safe area for civilians within the conflict zone, this
arrangement has been largely disregarded by both parties. Citizens are denied any meaningful refuge. The
government has also promised to allow safe passage to trapped civilians, but only a handful has been able to
escape. Sri Lankan military artillery barrages and aerial strikes, and LTTE restrictions on movement, prevent
people from seeking safety from the fighting. Many families are too frightened to leave the LTTE-held
territory due to the unsafe conditions in the government-controlled area. Civilians who have crossed into the
area are held in open internment camps, afforded no communication with the outside world, and denied
access to aid agencies seeking to assist them.

The crisis in Sri Lanka requires the attention of the U.S. and the international community. If a humanitarian
catastrophe is to be averted, a coordinated diplomatic demarche at the highest levels of the international
community is needed immediately. We recognize that certain countries, particularly India and Japan, have
special influence in Sri Lanka, and would ask that U.S. diplomatic efforts include continued targeted
outreach to those governments.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this humanitarian disaster.


Samuel A. Worthington
President and CEO


InterAction is a membership association of US private voluntary organizations engaged in international humanitarian efforts including
relief, development, refugee assistance, environment, population, public policy, and global education.