Detainees in SLA camps in Jaffna lack freedom, facilities - NGO representatives
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 17 March 2009, 18:42 GMT]
Representatives of Non-governmental organizations in Jaffna peninsula who visit the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) controlled detention camps in Jaffna district expressed concern for detainees who lack clothes, proper food except the dry food rations provided by the government, besides being denied permission meet their relatives. Meanwhile, Jaffna Government Agent, in his press report Tuesday, has detailed a long list of assistances given by the District Government Secretariat and the Divisional Secretariats to improve living conditions of the said detainees, sources in Jaffna said.
According to GA’s report there are altogether 3,686 persons belonging to 1,258 families who had fled the war in Vanni, held in the six detention camps.
329 civilians had been brought to the detention camps Sunday and Monday alone.
There are113 persons of 55 families in Thirunakar camp in the former judicial building in Kurunakar, 464 persons of 189 families in Koappaay Government Teachers’ Training College hostel camp, 1,316 persons of 416 families in Mirusuvil Catholic Church camp, 706 persons of 250 families in Koddikaamam Government Tamil Mixed School camp, 186 of 65 families in Saiva Children Home camp in Kaithadi and 901 of 324 families in Jaffna University Hostel camp in Kaithadi.
While the detainees complain that they are only given dry food rations the GA’s report say that cooked meals are given to them three times a day, the NGO representatives pointed out.
So far no relative of any detainee has been permitted by SLA to visit them though it is said that arrangements have been made to meet this need.
According to GA’s report, all the basic needs of the detainees have been identified and measures taken to meet them.
Some of the areas mentioned are educational facilities and school uniforms for the children, primary school facilities, television sets and toys for the children, newspapers for the adults, banks to extend their service in the camp for the detainees.
GA’s report also says that government servants among the detainees who were brought to the camps in the first instances are being paid their salaries just as pensioners being paid their pension.
Arrangements are being made for the other government servants in the detention camps to be absorbed in their respective departments in Jaffna peninsula, the report says.
No person over the age of sixty has yet been allowed to leave the detention camp though the government says action has been taken to free them from detention, the NGO representatives said.
On the whole, the GA’s list of assistance and facilities given to detainees differs widely in contrast from the version of the NGO representatives who visit the detention camps, civil society sources in Jaffna said.