The British news company, Channel 4, has released another shocking video on Sri Lanka, this time on the terrible conditions facing Sri Lanka’s displaced Tamils in the internment camps they’re currently held in. (For background on this story, see the Sri Lanka page on the AIUSA website.) Like the earlier execution video released by Channel 4, Amnesty International cannot confirm whether the video and pictures reportedly shot inside the camps two weeks ago are authentic. We could do so if the Sri Lankan government would allow aid workers and independent human rights observers full, unimpeded access to the camps and their civilian population.
It’s imperative that conditions in the camps be improved quickly, especially with the monsoon rains coming in the next few weeks. But even more important, the civilians must be allowed to leave the camps if they wish. On that score, we may have gotten some good news today: the Sri Lankan government announced today that civilians in the camps could be released if they had relatives willing to take them. We’ll see whether this is implemented and how many it will apply to. But even those civilians without such relatives are still entitled to freedom of movement. Being caught in a war zone is not a crime; the displaced civilians should not be treated as criminals. Unlock the camps now!