Army warns forcible resettlement
[TamilNet, Friday, 26 June 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Around 200 families displaced from Kuchchevli, 35 km north of Trincomalee, are to be forcibly resettled on June 30 if they do not volunteer to do so, said sources in Trincomalee.
These families, now living in a UNHCR refugee camp in Uppuveli, were told by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) on June 18 that they could return to the area in which they once lived because it was secure.
Those who did not volunteer to do so would be forcibly resettled on June 30.
The displaced, however, are opposed to the idea of resettlement because the areas they had lived in have now been taken over by the SLA.
This has resulted in about 50 families not having homes, while the rest are reluctant to resettle near an SLA camp fearing harassment by the soldiers and a possible military confrontation between the SLA and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The SLA has assured the displaced that its camp would be relocated to help the families resettle.
Despite the protests by the refugees however, the SLA has told the District Secretary for Trincomalee, that the families are prepared resettle in the area.
Meanwhile, the refugees have sent a memorandum to UNHCR, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Human Rights Commission (HRC) stating that they were unwilling to resettle near an SLA camp and that they be allowed to remain at Uppuveli until a permanent peace returns.
Kuchcheveli, an impoverished village, has a hospital without a resident doctor and divisional secretary who does not function from the area.