Stop transferring IDPs from Vavuniyaa to camps in other areas - Bishop urges govt.

[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 October 2009, 07:38 GMT]
Rev. Duleep de Chickera, Anglican Bishop of Colombo has urged the Government that if IDPs said to be released from Vavuniyaa are in fact being transferred to camps in different regions, this is misleading and must stop. Reports of the lack of co-ordination amongst State Authorities are disappointing, and all those responsible for implementing this decision should be required to ensure co-ordination, compassion and speed.

The full text of a statement issued by Bishop Rev. Duleep Chickera on Wednesday follows:-

“The Government’s decision to release persons in the camps to relatives after adequate security screening was well received when first announced. Many welcomed this initiative. There have however, subsequently been conflicting reports in the Media about its implementation which require immediate attention and clarification. If the decision has been put on hold it must be reactivated. If the response of relatives has been slow, more time and wider publicity should be given. If persons said to be released are in fact being transferred to camps in different regions, this is misleading and must stop. Reports of the lack of co-ordination amongst State Authorities are disappointing, and all those responsible for implementing this decision should be required to ensure co-ordination, compassion and speed."

"Such a course of action will confirm the Government’s position that these Sri Lankans crossed over to liberation at the invitation of their Government and that they are neither prisoners nor detainees. It will also recognize that no citizen of this country can or should be expected to endure the conditions in camps for too long. It will also widen the scope of current budgets and ensure better conditions, specially shelter and nourishment for those who remain. The anticipated rain is an added factor that calls for responsible action with speed."

"The decision to release, should however be clearly seen as an interim measure. The much more urgent task is to expedite the process of resettlement. Once the ‘home areas" of the Displaced are cleared of mines and the required infrastructure built, persons displaced, whether in the camps or with relatives, should be resettled in their original homes."

"I finally urge the Government to provide the Media with access to areas being de-mined and reconstructed, (subject to their safety and security precautions) and to also make regular public updates on this work. This will in turn provide information to all Sri Lankans, whether displaced or not, on the progress being made in this regard. In doing so the Government will demonstrate transparency in its management of the crisis and State Ministries and Officials will quite rightly be held accountable by the people."

 

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