Sri Lanka: when will displaced civilians be released?September 12, 2009
If you’re interested in getting an update on the displaced civilians held in internment camps in northern Sri Lanka, I’d highly recommend the statement issued by Amnesty International today entitled, “Sri Lanka’s Displaced Face Uncertain Future as Government Begins to Unlock the Camps“. It’s a good summary of the hurdles the Sri Lankan government is placing in the path of the civilians being able to leave the camps. (For background on this story, please visit our Sri Lanka page.)
If you’ve been following this story, you know the numbers of the civilians involved can get confusing. Amnesty issued another statement today, “Counting the Human Cost of Sri Lanka’s Conflict,” which succinctly describes the numbers involved. I’d highly recommend reading that statement as well.
You may find it instructive as well to read President Rajapaksa’s interview with Le Figaro. In one spot in the interview, he refuses to say whether the Sri Lankan government will honor its earlier pledge to re-settle 80% of the displaced civilians by the end of this year. In another place in the interview, it appears that he may be saying that it could take another 6 months or even a year before all the civilians are allowed out of the camps (it’s unclear whether he’s referring to allowing civilians to leave the camps or ending the state of emergency Sri Lanka is currently governed under).
AI’s “Unlock the Camps” campaign continues. If you haven’t already, please consider participating in our campaign: fill out a petition, send an online letter, hold a demonstration, so the displaced civilians can finally get the rights they’re entitled to, including freedom of movement. If you have any constructive suggestions for how best to persuade the Sri Lankan government to grant the displaced civilians their rights, I’d appreciate hearing them.