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IDPs to get more freedom of movement:

Minister refutes false claims

Minister Samarasinghe

The Government is anxious to relax movement restrictions in IDP camps but the strict screening process must continue to stop LTTE cadres masquerading as ordinary citizens slipping out of camps to create havoc in the rest of the country, Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said.

Briefing the members at the 12th UN Security Council Sessions in Geneva, Minister Samarasinghe refuted allegations by the High Commissioner for Human rights Navineetha Pillai who ‘characterised’ the relief villages and welfare centres housing internally displaced as being ‘no more than internment camps’.

Resettlement in full swing

*Over 14,500 persons cleared to live with relatives.
* Over 31,000 persons reunified with family members.
* Resettlement commenced with limited returns being made possible by demining. From July to August 2009, a total of 5,331 IDPs representing 695 families have been resettled from Vavuniya to Ampara, Batticaloa, Jaffna and Trincomalee Districts.
* A further 9,994 are to be returned to their places during a two week period.

“This is furthest from the truth,” he said. “The reality in post-conflict Sri Lanka is very different.”

“With the defeat of terrorism, the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is doing its utmost to restore, rebuild and renew the foundations of a democratic social order throughout Sri Lanka.”

He said the Government whilst taking extra care not to let ex-LTTEers escape, is anxious to let the civilians move out of relief villages as soon as possible and ensure them a normal life.

In this context, a host family scheme has been announced to allow the Northern IDPs to live with their relations. This will be implemented parallel to the resettlement program. Many thousands of applications have been received from Jaffna and Vavuniya in the past few days to this public announcement. This process has been implemented consequent to a policy decision by the Presidential Task Force on Resettlement, Development and Security in the Northern Province.

The families will have to prove their ability to financially support the IDPs before they will be allowed to be in their custody and at the initial stage only the IDPs from Jaffna, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Ampara will be allowed to leave to stay with host families due to security concerns.

The Minister said the council was aware of the atrocities committed by the LTTE on the ordinary civilian population and given the vast cache of Tiger ammunition and explosives recovered on a daily basis, their ability to destabilise the country and cause havoc cannot be underestimated.

 

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