Sri Lanka: while day passes are good, freedom would be better

There was some news this week regarding the internally displaced civilians in northern Sri Lanka.  Amnesty International has been campaigning for the civilians to be allowed freedom of movement; currently, most of them have been held in overcrowded camps which they are not permitted to leave, until the Sri Lankan government has completed a screening process to determine whether any of the civilians have links to the Tamil Tigers.  (For background on this story, see our Sri Lanka page.)  This past Monday in Geneva, the Sri Lankan Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights told the Executive Committee of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees this past Monday that:

“The authorities in charge of maintaining the camps have also put in place a system of day-passes whereby IDPs [internally displaced persons] who need to attend to specific wants, ranging from attending a family wedding to visiting their bank in a nearby town, can leave the camps for a limited period of time.”

This was the first I’d heard of a day-pass system.  I think it’s a welcome development.  However, it doesn’t substitute for the freedom of movement the displaced civilians are entitled to.  The Sri Lankan government should immediately allow the displaced civilians to leave the camps if they wish.  Unlock the camps now!

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45 thoughts on “Sri Lanka: while day passes are good, freedom would be better

  1. The Sri Lanka (SL) Administration has been saying that it could not resettle 300 000 unlawfully imprisoned IDPs in Vavuniyaa camps as their villages in Vanni region are not completely de-mined.

    At that same the SL Regime t is issuing statements to the effect that it has launched several development projects in Ki’linochchi, Mannaar, Jaffna and Vavuniyaa including restoration of electricity supply under the title “Northern Spring “(Vaddakkin Vasantham).

    How could the government launch development projects in areas which are still sown with mines? Hence the Sri Lanka government’s stand on resettlement is contradictory.

    There are some areas in Vanni infested with mines, but vast areas without them. The SL Administration can resettle large numbers IDP families in these mine-free areas.

    Mmmmmm… I interesting???

    Development in Vanni is OK …

    But to resettle Vanni’s residents in Vanni is not

  2. The Sri Lanka (SL) Administration has been saying that it could not resettle 300 000 unlawfully imprisoned IDPs in Vavuniyaa camps as their villages in Vanni region are not completely de-mined.

    At that same the SL Regime t is issuing statements to the effect that it has launched several development projects in Ki’linochchi, Mannaar, Jaffna and Vavuniyaa including restoration of electricity supply under the title “Northern Spring “(Vaddakkin Vasantham).

    How could the government launch development projects in areas which are still sown with mines? Hence the Sri Lanka government’s stand on resettlement is contradictory.

    There are some areas in Vanni infested with mines, but vast areas without them. The SL Administration can resettle large numbers IDP families in these mine-free areas.

    Mmmmmm… I interesting???

    Development in Vanni is OK …

    But to resettle Vanni’s residents in Vanni is not

  3. Dear friends,
    Please protest against SIX SENSES company. They are making a huge investment in Sri Lanka and making Sri Lanka's first six star hotel:
    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=92

    It is time to be proactive and show SIX SENSES what the genocidal, Tamil-killing, murderous, barbaric Sri Lankan government is doing and has done. Not only boycotts of Sri Lankan goods, but action like this must happen.

  4. Dear friends,
    Please protest against SIX SENSES company. They are making a huge investment in Sri Lanka and making Sri Lanka's first six star hotel:
    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=92

    It is time to be proactive and show SIX SENSES what the genocidal, Tamil-killing, murderous, barbaric Sri Lankan government is doing and has done. Not only boycotts of Sri Lankan goods, but action like this must happen.

  5. Dear friends,
    Please protest against SIX SENSES company. They are making a huge investment in Sri Lanka and making Sri Lanka's first six star hotel:
    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=92

    It is time to be proactive and show SIX SENSES what the genocidal, Tamil-killing, murderous, barbaric Sri Lankan government is doing and has done. Not only boycotts of Sri Lankan goods, but action like this must happen.

  6. I'd ask that people commenting here please stick to the topic at hand, and not use the comment opportunity to push unrelated issues. Thanks.

  7. As in the case of 300,000 interned IDPs , the state could establish a few welfare (not detention) camps to accommodate the few who cannot find accommodation on their own. Any decision to move out should be taken by the IDPs solely on their own responsibility. Concern for the welfare of IDPs cannot possibly be a reason to detain anyone or to restrict their movements or to prevent access to them. If, on the other hand, the IDPs are being held on suspicion of being responsible for criminal activity, and if evidence is available, they should be duly arrested and charged. If, four months after the commencement of their detention, there is no evidence found to charge them, they should be freed forthwith.

  8. Dear friends,
    Please protest against SIX SENSES company. They are making a huge investment in Sri Lanka and making Sri Lanka’s first six star hotel:

    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=929960

    It is time to be proactive and show SIX SENSES what the genocidal, Tamil-killing, murderous, barbaric Sri Lankan government is doing and has done. Not only boycotts of Sri Lankan goods, but action like this must happen.

  9. I’d ask that people commenting here please stick to the topic at hand, and not use the comment opportunity to push unrelated issues. Thanks.

  10. As in the case of 300,000 interned IDPs , the state could establish a few welfare (not detention) camps to accommodate the few who cannot find accommodation on their own. Any decision to move out should be taken by the IDPs solely on their own responsibility. Concern for the welfare of IDPs cannot possibly be a reason to detain anyone or to restrict their movements or to prevent access to them. If, on the other hand, the IDPs are being held on suspicion of being responsible for criminal activity, and if evidence is available, they should be duly arrested and charged. If, four months after the commencement of their detention, there is no evidence found to charge them, they should be freed forthwith.

  11. The Tamil prisoners in Sri Lanka concentration camps are beaten brutally by Sri Lankan soldiers and the degree of brutality became worse and worse. The master-slave scenario is played out frequently when the inmates of one camp attempt to call out through the barbed wire to attract a family member’s attention e.g. a mother is calling out to her child or husband to his wife. In one such incident a father called out to his baby through the barbed wire that angered the Sri Lankan Army soldiers. They hop on a motorbike and chase him through the narrow spaces between the tents. The concentration camp guards surrendered the victim shouting angrily something in Sinhalese. The Tamil prisoner who does not understand Sinhalese kept repeating “sorry… sorry in Tamil ”, (95 percent of the inmates all of whom are Tamils do not understand Sinhalese where as 99 percent of the SL military all of whom are Sinhalese do not know Tamil and give their orders as “masters” in Sinhalese which the “slaves” do not understand.) The enrage Sri Lanka military men kicked the helpless victim on his face and stomach 100 times with his boots which are soaked with Tamil’s prisoner’s blood. It was only after the Sri Lankan soldiers were too tired to deliver any more kicks that he stopped to look at his bloody boots. He became enraged again — boots were dirty with the victim’s blood and in a need of cleaning. He continues to jump on the prisoner’s head until a mere pulp. The IDP was convulsing and clearly dying.. Several IDPs, who witnessed this, were frozen in fear.

  12. The Tamil prisoners in Sri Lanka concentration camps are beaten brutally by Sri Lankan soldiers and the degree of brutality became worse and worse. The master-slave scenario is played out frequently when the inmates of one camp attempt to call out through the barbed wire to attract a family member’s attention e.g. a mother is calling out to her child or husband to his wife. In one such incident a father called out to his baby through the barbed wire that angered the Sri Lankan Army soldiers. They hop on a motorbike and chase him through the narrow spaces between the tents. The concentration camp guards surrendered the victim shouting angrily something in Sinhalese. The Tamil prisoner who does not understand Sinhalese kept repeating “sorry… sorry in Tamil ”, (95 percent of the inmates all of whom are Tamils do not understand Sinhalese where as 99 percent of the SL military all of whom are Sinhalese do not know Tamil and give their orders as “masters” in Sinhalese which the “slaves” do not understand.) The enrage Sri Lanka military men kicked the helpless victim on his face and stomach 100 times with his boots which are soaked with Tamil’s prisoner’s blood. It was only after the Sri Lankan soldiers were too tired to deliver any more kicks that he stopped to look at his bloody boots. He became enraged again — boots were dirty with the victim’s blood and in a need of cleaning. He continues to jump on the prisoner’s head until a mere pulp. The IDP was convulsing and clearly dying.. Several IDPs, who witnessed this, were frozen in fear.

  13. Ram !

    You have mentioned the development programs that are conducted by the government in the areas and mentioned that they cannot do it if the areas are uncleared.

    FYI – all development programs do happen in cleared areas and not in uncleared areas – for ex. the area around the A9 route is now cleared – Jaffna is totally cleared.

    The resettlement is happening with 25,000 + already being sent to their newly built houses in cleared areas. The Muslim and Singhala IDP's for the past 20+ years are also being re-settled (though you never cried for them when they were chased out from their home lands by the LTTE)

    Every project has a time line – the settling of IDP's project also has a time line and a fast tracked one – so if you really want to see them re-settled, I recommend you support the government.

    In any war, there will be IDP's – look not far beyond Pakistan with more than 2 million of them – the important factor is looking after the well being of them and supporting such activity – I am afraid you are not doing so !!

  14. Ram !

    You have mentioned the development programs that are conducted by the government in the areas and mentioned that they cannot do it if the areas are uncleared.

    FYI – all development programs do happen in cleared areas and not in uncleared areas – for ex. the area around the A9 route is now cleared – Jaffna is totally cleared.

    The resettlement is happening with 25,000 + already being sent to their newly built houses in cleared areas. The Muslim and Singhala IDP’s for the past 20+ years are also being re-settled (though you never cried for them when they were chased out from their home lands by the LTTE)

    Every project has a time line – the settling of IDP’s project also has a time line and a fast tracked one – so if you really want to see them re-settled, I recommend you support the government.

    In any war, there will be IDP’s – look not far beyond Pakistan with more than 2 million of them – the important factor is looking after the well being of them and supporting such activity – I am afraid you are not doing so !!

  15. Over 300,000 Tamils are being held in Holocaust style concentration camps by the Sri Lankan Government.

    The camps are similar to those employed by Hitler during Nazi Germany.

    The Sri Lanka Military has been accused of targetting Tamil civilians and indiscriminatly bombing Hospitals during its military offensive.

    The Government has now banned journalists, media, and diplomats from the conflict region.

    The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, Mexico and all the EU nations are pushing for a war crimes probes..

    Aid groups have repeatedly said that abductions, disappearances and rape occurs in these camps as the Sri Lankan Government does not allow full access to aid groups and mediators.

    The Sri Lankan secretary of Defense has told the BBC that Hospitals are ‘legitimate military targets’, however under the Geneva conventions, bombing medical facilities are considered war crimes.

    Hospitals in the conflict zone are now run in make-shift tents throughout the jungle.

    The Government has now banned all independent journalists and media outlets from reporting on the conflict zone.

    State-run media outlet’s report on the conflict using information from the official military sources.

    NGO’s and worldwide relief organizations see the Government’s

    ‘War on the Tamil Tigers’ as a disguise for exterminating the entire Tamil race from the island.

    The Human Rights Watch has labelled the Sri Lankan Government number one for abductions, disappearences and executions.

    ”Those who speak out against the Government either go missing or turn up dead”, says Dr. Anna Neistat who is a senior emergency researcher for the Human Rights Watch.

    The Government has now even labelled international media outlets ‘reporting terrorist propoganda’.

  16. AFP/File – Sri Lankan war displaced people stand behind a barbed wire fence at the Manik Farm camp in the island's …
    Mon Oct 5, 1:32 pm ET
    COLOMBO (AFP)– Sri Lanka will tap foreign donors to raise more cash to look after over 250,000 people displaced by its offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels, a minister said Monday.
    "We are drawing up a fresh appeal to meet our running costs next year that will include funds for livelihood support and resettlement projects," Minister of Disaster Management Mahinda Samarasinghe told reporters in the capital Colombo.
    Sri Lanka already received 225 million dollars in aid pledges just before the fighting ended in May to look after civilians who lost their homes, he said.
    Some 195 million dollars of that pledge money has been received so far, Samarasinghe added.
    He declined to say how much Sri Lanka was hoping to receive for next year.
    But the sum sought from foreign donors would be "much, much more than the 225 million dollars raised this year," the minister said.

  17. Over 300,000 Tamils are being held in Holocaust style concentration camps by the Sri Lankan Government.

    The camps are similar to those employed by Hitler during Nazi Germany.

    The Sri Lanka Military has been accused of targetting Tamil civilians and indiscriminatly bombing Hospitals during its military offensive.

    The Government has now banned journalists, media, and diplomats from the conflict region.

    The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, Mexico and all the EU nations are pushing for a war crimes probes..

    Aid groups have repeatedly said that abductions, disappearances and rape occurs in these camps as the Sri Lankan Government does not allow full access to aid groups and mediators.

    The Sri Lankan secretary of Defense has told the BBC that Hospitals are ‘legitimate military targets’, however under the Geneva conventions, bombing medical facilities are considered war crimes.

    Hospitals in the conflict zone are now run in make-shift tents throughout the jungle.

    The Government has now banned all independent journalists and media outlets from reporting on the conflict zone.

    State-run media outlet’s report on the conflict using information from the official military sources.

    NGO’s and worldwide relief organizations see the Government’s

    ‘War on the Tamil Tigers’ as a disguise for exterminating the entire Tamil race from the island.

    The Human Rights Watch has labelled the Sri Lankan Government number one for abductions, disappearences and executions.

    ”Those who speak out against the Government either go missing or turn up dead”, says Dr. Anna Neistat who is a senior emergency researcher for the Human Rights Watch.

    The Government has now even labelled international media outlets ‘reporting terrorist propoganda’.

  18. AFP/File – Sri Lankan war displaced people stand behind a barbed wire fence at the Manik Farm camp in the island’s …
    Mon Oct 5, 1:32 pm ET
    COLOMBO (AFP)– Sri Lanka will tap foreign donors to raise more cash to look after over 250,000 people displaced by its offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels, a minister said Monday.
    “We are drawing up a fresh appeal to meet our running costs next year that will include funds for livelihood support and resettlement projects,” Minister of Disaster Management Mahinda Samarasinghe told reporters in the capital Colombo.
    Sri Lanka already received 225 million dollars in aid pledges just before the fighting ended in May to look after civilians who lost their homes, he said.
    Some 195 million dollars of that pledge money has been received so far, Samarasinghe added.
    He declined to say how much Sri Lanka was hoping to receive for next year.
    But the sum sought from foreign donors would be “much, much more than the 225 million dollars raised this year,” the minister said.

  19. Monsoon floods threaten displaced Tamils, says British ministerHundreds of thousands may face water shortage and disease in Sri Lankan internment camps

    A quarter of million displaced Tamils are in dire humanitarian need of being allowed out of internment camps which face flash floods in Sri Lanka's monsoons, a British minister said after visiting refugees. (what happened from 300,000-250,000=50,000?, where did they go, to hell)

    Mike Foster, a British international development minister, said he had been allowed unfettered access to the Manik Farm camp in the country's northern Vavuniya district, which Tamil war refugees cannot freely leave.

    "There's a pressing humanitarian need for the civilians to be allowed to leave the camps," said Foster. "Although conditions have improved the tents are basically disintegrating. With the monsoons we will have sewage floating around – water-borne diseases will be rife.

    "We will not be prepared to fund closed camps after the monsoons."

    The minister said civilians had complained of water shortages. The ration of 20 litres per person per day was being given to a family. "That's a lot of people and not a lot of water," said Foster.

    The civilians were herded by the army into the camps this summer after Sri Lankan government forces routed the Tamil Tigers in a battle on the north-east coast that ended the Tigers' 26-year fight for a separate Tamil homeland in the north and east of the Indian Ocean nation.

    The minister pointed out that the government's pledge to free civilians from the internment camps by the end of the year had already seen "some slippage".

    "It [the release date] is now January. These are closed camps, in the sense there's no freedom of movement. The international community supported the government because these were meant to be temporary. We do not, however, want these people taken to another closed camp, we want them to go home."

    Sri Lanka denies that the Tamils are detained under "conditions of internment", a phrase used by UN officials. The government says people are being held in "welfare camps" while they are screened to see whether they were rebels.

    The government says the resettlement of Tamils will also depend on how quickly mines are cleared from conflict areas. So far, ministers say, 30,000 people have been allowed to return to their "native places".(Sri lanka still vomiting worms of lies, only 6000 transfered to other camps, sri lanka planting more mines?)

    The United Nations has said the harsh conditions in the camps may result in growing bitterness. Two children were injured in a standoff between Tamils and the Sri Lankan army, which the UN said was a "sign of growing frustrations" in the camps.

  20. South Asia has never witnessed such a large scale, state-organized crime as one committed on Eezham Tamils by the government of Sri Lanka. Perhaps the world has never witnessed hitherto that such a crime of internment camps for civilians could be initiated collectively by all the powers of the world and the UN, and could be left like this without anyone being able to do anything about it. A civilian woman who was a captive in the Zone 3 of the internment camp of Menik Farm for four months, and managed to come out by ‘other means’ a month ago, writes on her experience in the camp – an indelible shame for the so-called civilised world.

    Five Tamil and Muslim party leaders in a joint communique issued Wednesday stated that "the forcible detention of hundreds of thousands of Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka in camps for Internally Displaced Persons is illegal, without basis in the Constitution and in gross violation of international human rights norms," and called for immediate action to "end to military administration and restrictions placed on civilians, and we urge the restoration of full civilian administration to facilitate return to economic and social normality."

    "The fate of a quarter of a million interned Tamils is poisoning Sri Lanka’s hopes of ethnic reconciliation….So long as Tamils feel abused by a racist Sinhalese state, the conflict may resume. Economic development of their shattered regions, which the government is planning, is unlikely to change that. Hence the government’s continued war-footing—but this is in turn also reinforcing Tamil grievances," a feature in the 1st October edition of The Economist said,

    Sri Lanka’s failure to rapidly resettle nearly 300,000 Tamils who survived the government’s final onslaught against the Tamil Tigers and their further suffering under harsh conditions in militarised camps could result in growing bitterness, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake Tuesday – the same day, the UN issued its strongest criticism yet of Sri Lanka’s continued internment of the hundreds of thousands of displacedTamils. Mr. Ban also stressed the need to expedite “a serious, independent and impartial accountability process to look into alleged violation of international law during the conflict as a critical part of moving forward and building peace in Sri Lanka,” a UN statement said.

    A whole world is duped in what Colombo is machinating in the name of resettlement of IDPs, Tamil circles in Jaffna commented, citing Sri Lanka Navy’s new internment camps around its installations in the island sector of Jaffna. Colombo’s aim is threefold: a human shield of civilians for its occupying forces, prevention of rightful owners reoccupying houses and lands around its military installations and eventually confiscating those lands in strategic areas for its expansion and other demographic conspiracies in the very heart of Tamil homeland, pointed out Tamil circles adding that a paranoid Sri Lankan state can never deliver justice to Tamils. The core truth is that the barbed-wire camps came up because the world powers wanted it. But some powers by not directly taking responsibility and some others like India by sitting on international action continue injustice, Jaffna circles said.

  21. There is no water to drink – -there is no water to bathe – we are going to die here "Refugee at Menik Farm"
    It has been likened to a huge new city in the jungle.

    Rapidly built up for the Tamil refugee influx last spring, Menik Farm has pylons, banks, even cash machines – and thousands upon thousands of tents in the cleared arid lands west of Vavuniya in northern Sri Lanka.

    Since my earlier visit in April, the camp has swollen to cover some 10 zones, the number of camp-dwellers has ballooned to a quarter of a million, while over 20,000 have been resettled or more informally released, the government says.

    And yet, just five minutes of conversation with the camp-dwellers was deeply distressing.

    Starting by talking to us through our car-window, women, one after the other, piled on tales of hopelessness in the Tamil language.

    Each wanted her turn at the microphone to speak out. There was barely time for us to ask questions or ask where their families were.

    One said that after being displaced 15 times by the civil war in three years, and being rescued by the army, she was now sharing a tent with 24 people.

    "I don't know how to live like this," she said, simply. "Please send us to a good place, or to our homes."

    There seemed to be a widespread assumption that as outsiders we could somehow send them home. It was a cry of despair.

    "There is nothing to do," the same woman lamented.

    "We are falling sick of doing nothing. Even the children who study don't have books, pens, pencils."

    "There is no water to drink. There is no water to bathe. We are going to die here."
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8293982.stm

  22. IDPs in Vavuniyaa camps cannot settle in Jaffna without SLA clearance
    [TamilNet, Sunday, 04 October 2009, 16:06 GMT]
    Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Jaffna held in Vavuniyaa camps, on their release from the camps, cannot get back to Jaffna without obtaining the ‘clearance’ of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Jaffna, according to Jaffna Government Agent (GA), K. Ganesh. 30 expectant mothers and their families released from Vavuniyaa camps are from Jaffna and their particulars have been submitted to the SLA authorities in Jaffna, he further said. However, he did not say anything about their fate if SLA refuses permission for them to be brought to Jaffna, sources in Jaffna said.

    Altogether 37 expectant women and their families are to be released from the SLA internment camps in Vavuniyaa and Jaffna GA had received the list of those from Jaffna district.

    Though the Government had made much publicity about releasing the expectant women and their children their future hangs on the decision taken by Jaffna SLA, sources in Vavuniyaa said.

    Meanwhile, 607 IDPs from the islets of Jaffna have been brought to the islets and handed over to Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) who hold them under their control in detainment centres.

    Another batch of Islet IDPs are to be brought to the islets of Jaffna next week, the GA said.

    IDPs from Vadamaraadchi North will be brought soon from Vavuniyaa camps, he further said.

    The IDPs brought from Vavuniyaa and handed over to SLN continue to be detained though they were told they would be allowed to settle in their houses or with their relatives.

  23. There is no water to drink – -there is no water to bathe – we are going to die here "Refugee at Menik Farm"
    It has been likened to a huge new city in the jungle.

    Rapidly built up for the Tamil refugee influx last spring, Menik Farm has pylons, banks, even cash machines – and thousands upon thousands of tents in the cleared arid lands west of Vavuniya in northern Sri Lanka.

    Since my earlier visit in April, the camp has swollen to cover some 10 zones, the number of camp-dwellers has ballooned to a quarter of a million, while over 20,000 have been resettled or more informally released, the government says.

    And yet, just five minutes of conversation with the camp-dwellers was deeply distressing.

    Starting by talking to us through our car-window, women, one after the other, piled on tales of hopelessness in the Tamil language.

    Each wanted her turn at the microphone to speak out. There was barely time for us to ask questions or ask where their families were.

    One said that after being displaced 15 times by the civil war in three years, and being rescued by the army, she was now sharing a tent with 24 people.

    "I don't know how to live like this," she said, simply. "Please send us to a good place, or to our homes."

    There seemed to be a widespread assumption that as outsiders we could somehow send them home. It was a cry of despair.

    "There is nothing to do," the same woman lamented.

    "We are falling sick of doing nothing. Even the children who study don't have books, pens, pencils."

    "There is no water to drink. There is no water to bathe. We are going to die here."
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8293982.stm

  24. There is no water to drink – -there is no water to bathe – we are going to die here "Refugee at Menik Farm"
    It has been likened to a huge new city in the jungle.

    Rapidly built up for the Tamil refugee influx last spring, Menik Farm has pylons, banks, even cash machines – and thousands upon thousands of tents in the cleared arid lands west of Vavuniya in northern Sri Lanka.

    Since my earlier visit in April, the camp has swollen to cover some 10 zones, the number of camp-dwellers has ballooned to a quarter of a million, while over 20,000 have been resettled or more informally released, the government says.

    And yet, just five minutes of conversation with the camp-dwellers was deeply distressing.

    Starting by talking to us through our car-window, women, one after the other, piled on tales of hopelessness in the Tamil language.

    Each wanted her turn at the microphone to speak out. There was barely time for us to ask questions or ask where their families were.

    One said that after being displaced 15 times by the civil war in three years, and being rescued by the army, she was now sharing a tent with 24 people.

    "I don't know how to live like this," she said, simply. "Please send us to a good place, or to our homes."

    There seemed to be a widespread assumption that as outsiders we could somehow send them home. It was a cry of despair.

    "There is nothing to do," the same woman lamented.

    "We are falling sick of doing nothing. Even the children who study don't have books, pens, pencils."

    "There is no water to drink. There is no water to bathe. We are going to die here."
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8293982.stm

  25. Freedom of movement is our top priority for the displaced people of Sri Lanka-Foster (06/10/2009)
    Freedom of movement is critical if a humanitarian crisis is to be averted, Development Minister Mike Foster said as he visited camps in the north of Sri Lanka today. After visiting the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps he voiced concerns about the impact that heavy rains, due to hit the north of the country from mid-October to December, will have on the 260,000 civilians living there.

    Mike Foster added that the UK is assisting civilian returns through supporting demining and transportation of civilians back to their home areas but that progress on returning civilians to date had been disappointing. He confirmed that the UK is holding £4.8 million ready to provide further support to help the Sri Lankan Government meet its welcome commitment to release the majority of civilians from the camps before the end of the year.

    But Mike Foster also made clear that UK funding could not support people simply being transferred from existing ‘closed’ camps – which detain civilians for long periods of time – to new closed camps. Freedom of movement has to be allowed now.
    Many IDPs have friends and relatives to whom they should be allowed to go to, as an interim measure. For this reason, he confirmed that once the critical monsoon season was over, the UK would only fund life-saving emergency interventions in the existing ‘closed’ camps.

    Mike Foster said:

    “Freedom of movement for the displaced people is our top priority, particularly ahead of the monsoon. Conditions in the camps have improved since my last visit but heavy rainfall could cause devastation – polluting water and sanitation supplies and spreading disease. Host families are a viable option to avert the humanitarian consequences of the rains in the camps. This option could be used to accommodate 70 percent of the people in the largest camp – Menik Farm – for example. Transferring the civilians to new closed sites is not acceptable”

  26. One needs to really have a open heart and mind regarding this issue. There is always two sides to a story. What we hear mainly on these sites are from those who do not even live in these areas keep aside who have visited the sites.

    I personally stand for the Government of Sri Lanka in this scenario since there is a requirement to elucidate those who require seeing both sides of the coin.

    Sri Lanka's Economic, Life style, HR and many other developments were hampered due to Terrorist acts that haunted this tiny Island for almost 30 years. Now that is quite a period considering the human life cycle where many in the country (including those who were forcefully or otherwise got involved with these Terror acts) did not have a decent childhood or living conditions. Since mid 1980's, there were Singhalees who were chased out from the Terror prone areas who lived in camps since then for almost 25 years (IDP's). Then in 1990, the Muslims were chased out and they were in camps for now close to 20 years (IDP's).

    Then the current government took a stance of finishing the terror acts as it was becoming a menace not only to SL, but to the whole world and immediately after, Tamils had to be kept in camps (IDP's) till the areas were cleared and got green-light for re-settlement. (5 Months)

    The re-settlement process for all these IDP's are being done is a systematic manner and has a time line. Also the government needs to ensure (we the peace loving citizens demand from the government to ensure that it would not repeat) that any person involved in terror acts hiding among the innocent IDP's should be filtered and rehabilitated.

    Hence, if you consider the gravity of the issue (this is not a fight between mother and father at home where the next door uncle or your relation from elsewhere could come and sort) it is very important that the camps remain and the resettlement is done in a timely and fruitful manner than in an unorganized manner.

    I only ask from those who demand stuff without looking at the core of the issue is whether they want the ugly history to repeat ?? Do you want to see bombs going all over the place ? Who will be responsible for those lives lost then ?

  27. Monsoon floods threaten displaced Tamils, says British ministerHundreds of thousands may face water shortage and disease in Sri Lankan internment camps

    A quarter of million displaced Tamils are in dire humanitarian need of being allowed out of internment camps which face flash floods in Sri Lanka’s monsoons, a British minister said after visiting refugees. (what happened from 300,000-250,000=50,000?, where did they go, to hell)

    Mike Foster, a British international development minister, said he had been allowed unfettered access to the Manik Farm camp in the country’s northern Vavuniya district, which Tamil war refugees cannot freely leave.

    “There’s a pressing humanitarian need for the civilians to be allowed to leave the camps,” said Foster. “Although conditions have improved the tents are basically disintegrating. With the monsoons we will have sewage floating around – water-borne diseases will be rife.

    “We will not be prepared to fund closed camps after the monsoons.”

    The minister said civilians had complained of water shortages. The ration of 20 litres per person per day was being given to a family. “That’s a lot of people and not a lot of water,” said Foster.

    The civilians were herded by the army into the camps this summer after Sri Lankan government forces routed the Tamil Tigers in a battle on the north-east coast that ended the Tigers’ 26-year fight for a separate Tamil homeland in the north and east of the Indian Ocean nation.

    The minister pointed out that the government’s pledge to free civilians from the internment camps by the end of the year had already seen “some slippage”.

    “It [the release date] is now January. These are closed camps, in the sense there’s no freedom of movement. The international community supported the government because these were meant to be temporary. We do not, however, want these people taken to another closed camp, we want them to go home.”

    Sri Lanka denies that the Tamils are detained under “conditions of internment”, a phrase used by UN officials. The government says people are being held in “welfare camps” while they are screened to see whether they were rebels.

    The government says the resettlement of Tamils will also depend on how quickly mines are cleared from conflict areas. So far, ministers say, 30,000 people have been allowed to return to their “native places”.(Sri lanka still vomiting worms of lies, only 6000 transfered to other camps, sri lanka planting more mines?)

    The United Nations has said the harsh conditions in the camps may result in growing bitterness. Two children were injured in a standoff between Tamils and the Sri Lankan army, which the UN said was a “sign of growing frustrations” in the camps.

  28. South Asia has never witnessed such a large scale, state-organized crime as one committed on Eezham Tamils by the government of Sri Lanka. Perhaps the world has never witnessed hitherto that such a crime of internment camps for civilians could be initiated collectively by all the powers of the world and the UN, and could be left like this without anyone being able to do anything about it. A civilian woman who was a captive in the Zone 3 of the internment camp of Menik Farm for four months, and managed to come out by ‘other means’ a month ago, writes on her experience in the camp – an indelible shame for the so-called civilised world.

    Five Tamil and Muslim party leaders in a joint communique issued Wednesday stated that “the forcible detention of hundreds of thousands of Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka in camps for Internally Displaced Persons is illegal, without basis in the Constitution and in gross violation of international human rights norms,” and called for immediate action to “end to military administration and restrictions placed on civilians, and we urge the restoration of full civilian administration to facilitate return to economic and social normality.”

    “The fate of a quarter of a million interned Tamils is poisoning Sri Lanka’s hopes of ethnic reconciliation….So long as Tamils feel abused by a racist Sinhalese state, the conflict may resume. Economic development of their shattered regions, which the government is planning, is unlikely to change that. Hence the government’s continued war-footing—but this is in turn also reinforcing Tamil grievances,” a feature in the 1st October edition of The Economist said,

    Sri Lanka’s failure to rapidly resettle nearly 300,000 Tamils who survived the government’s final onslaught against the Tamil Tigers and their further suffering under harsh conditions in militarised camps could result in growing bitterness, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake Tuesday – the same day, the UN issued its strongest criticism yet of Sri Lanka’s continued internment of the hundreds of thousands of displacedTamils. Mr. Ban also stressed the need to expedite “a serious, independent and impartial accountability process to look into alleged violation of international law during the conflict as a critical part of moving forward and building peace in Sri Lanka,” a UN statement said.

    A whole world is duped in what Colombo is machinating in the name of resettlement of IDPs, Tamil circles in Jaffna commented, citing Sri Lanka Navy’s new internment camps around its installations in the island sector of Jaffna. Colombo’s aim is threefold: a human shield of civilians for its occupying forces, prevention of rightful owners reoccupying houses and lands around its military installations and eventually confiscating those lands in strategic areas for its expansion and other demographic conspiracies in the very heart of Tamil homeland, pointed out Tamil circles adding that a paranoid Sri Lankan state can never deliver justice to Tamils. The core truth is that the barbed-wire camps came up because the world powers wanted it. But some powers by not directly taking responsibility and some others like India by sitting on international action continue injustice, Jaffna circles said.

  29. IDPs in Vavuniyaa camps cannot settle in Jaffna without SLA clearance
    [TamilNet, Sunday, 04 October 2009, 16:06 GMT]
    Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Jaffna held in Vavuniyaa camps, on their release from the camps, cannot get back to Jaffna without obtaining the ‘clearance’ of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Jaffna, according to Jaffna Government Agent (GA), K. Ganesh. 30 expectant mothers and their families released from Vavuniyaa camps are from Jaffna and their particulars have been submitted to the SLA authorities in Jaffna, he further said. However, he did not say anything about their fate if SLA refuses permission for them to be brought to Jaffna, sources in Jaffna said.

    Altogether 37 expectant women and their families are to be released from the SLA internment camps in Vavuniyaa and Jaffna GA had received the list of those from Jaffna district.

    Though the Government had made much publicity about releasing the expectant women and their children their future hangs on the decision taken by Jaffna SLA, sources in Vavuniyaa said.

    Meanwhile, 607 IDPs from the islets of Jaffna have been brought to the islets and handed over to Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) who hold them under their control in detainment centres.

    Another batch of Islet IDPs are to be brought to the islets of Jaffna next week, the GA said.

    IDPs from Vadamaraadchi North will be brought soon from Vavuniyaa camps, he further said.

    The IDPs brought from Vavuniyaa and handed over to SLN continue to be detained though they were told they would be allowed to settle in their houses or with their relatives.

  30. There is no water to drink – -there is no water to bathe – we are going to die here “Refugee at Menik Farm”
    It has been likened to a huge new city in the jungle.

    Rapidly built up for the Tamil refugee influx last spring, Menik Farm has pylons, banks, even cash machines – and thousands upon thousands of tents in the cleared arid lands west of Vavuniya in northern Sri Lanka.

    Since my earlier visit in April, the camp has swollen to cover some 10 zones, the number of camp-dwellers has ballooned to a quarter of a million, while over 20,000 have been resettled or more informally released, the government says.

    And yet, just five minutes of conversation with the camp-dwellers was deeply distressing.

    Starting by talking to us through our car-window, women, one after the other, piled on tales of hopelessness in the Tamil language.

    Each wanted her turn at the microphone to speak out. There was barely time for us to ask questions or ask where their families were.

    One said that after being displaced 15 times by the civil war in three years, and being rescued by the army, she was now sharing a tent with 24 people.

    “I don’t know how to live like this,” she said, simply. “Please send us to a good place, or to our homes.”

    There seemed to be a widespread assumption that as outsiders we could somehow send them home. It was a cry of despair.

    “There is nothing to do,” the same woman lamented.

    “We are falling sick of doing nothing. Even the children who study don’t have books, pens, pencils.”

    “There is no water to drink. There is no water to bathe. We are going to die here.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8293982.stm

  31. Freedom of movement is our top priority for the displaced people of Sri Lanka-Foster (06/10/2009)
    Freedom of movement is critical if a humanitarian crisis is to be averted, Development Minister Mike Foster said as he visited camps in the north of Sri Lanka today. After visiting the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps he voiced concerns about the impact that heavy rains, due to hit the north of the country from mid-October to December, will have on the 260,000 civilians living there.

    Mike Foster added that the UK is assisting civilian returns through supporting demining and transportation of civilians back to their home areas but that progress on returning civilians to date had been disappointing. He confirmed that the UK is holding £4.8 million ready to provide further support to help the Sri Lankan Government meet its welcome commitment to release the majority of civilians from the camps before the end of the year.

    But Mike Foster also made clear that UK funding could not support people simply being transferred from existing ‘closed’ camps – which detain civilians for long periods of time – to new closed camps. Freedom of movement has to be allowed now.
    Many IDPs have friends and relatives to whom they should be allowed to go to, as an interim measure. For this reason, he confirmed that once the critical monsoon season was over, the UK would only fund life-saving emergency interventions in the existing ‘closed’ camps.

    Mike Foster said:

    “Freedom of movement for the displaced people is our top priority, particularly ahead of the monsoon. Conditions in the camps have improved since my last visit but heavy rainfall could cause devastation – polluting water and sanitation supplies and spreading disease. Host families are a viable option to avert the humanitarian consequences of the rains in the camps. This option could be used to accommodate 70 percent of the people in the largest camp – Menik Farm – for example. Transferring the civilians to new closed sites is not acceptable”

  32. One needs to really have a open heart and mind regarding this issue. There is always two sides to a story. What we hear mainly on these sites are from those who do not even live in these areas keep aside who have visited the sites.

    I personally stand for the Government of Sri Lanka in this scenario since there is a requirement to elucidate those who require seeing both sides of the coin.

    Sri Lanka’s Economic, Life style, HR and many other developments were hampered due to Terrorist acts that haunted this tiny Island for almost 30 years. Now that is quite a period considering the human life cycle where many in the country (including those who were forcefully or otherwise got involved with these Terror acts) did not have a decent childhood or living conditions. Since mid 1980′s, there were Singhalees who were chased out from the Terror prone areas who lived in camps since then for almost 25 years (IDP’s). Then in 1990, the Muslims were chased out and they were in camps for now close to 20 years (IDP’s).

    Then the current government took a stance of finishing the terror acts as it was becoming a menace not only to SL, but to the whole world and immediately after, Tamils had to be kept in camps (IDP’s) till the areas were cleared and got green-light for re-settlement. (5 Months)

    The re-settlement process for all these IDP’s are being done is a systematic manner and has a time line. Also the government needs to ensure (we the peace loving citizens demand from the government to ensure that it would not repeat) that any person involved in terror acts hiding among the innocent IDP’s should be filtered and rehabilitated.

    Hence, if you consider the gravity of the issue (this is not a fight between mother and father at home where the next door uncle or your relation from elsewhere could come and sort) it is very important that the camps remain and the resettlement is done in a timely and fruitful manner than in an unorganized manner.

    I only ask from those who demand stuff without looking at the core of the issue is whether they want the ugly history to repeat ?? Do you want to see bombs going all over the place ? Who will be responsible for those lives lost then ?

  33. The Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka and the World Socialist Web Site are launching an international campaign to demand the immediate and unconditional release of more than 250,000 Tamil civilians who have been detained in huge internment camps since the defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May. The government falsely describes these squalid prison camps as “welfare villages.” However, detainees are not permitted to move in or out of their camps, which are surrounded by barbed wire fences and guarded by heavily armed soldiers. Relatives are allowed to see inmates only after the type of rigorous screening found in high security prisons.

  34. The Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka and the World Socialist Web Site are launching an international campaign to demand the immediate and unconditional release of more than 250,000 Tamil civilians who have been detained in huge internment camps since the defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May. The government falsely describes these squalid prison camps as “welfare villages.” However, detainees are not permitted to move in or out of their camps, which are surrounded by barbed wire fences and guarded by heavily armed soldiers. Relatives are allowed to see inmates only after the type of rigorous screening found in high security prisons.

  35. Pingback: We’ll believe it when we see it! | Human Rights Now - Amnesty International USA Blog