Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Jaffna IDPs 'should be sent home'

A leftwing presidential candidate in Sri Lanka's forthcoming elections says that refugees in Jaffna still lack basic facilities and struggling to find a way of living.

Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne, the leader of the Left Front, currently visiting the northern Sri Lankan town as part of his election campaign said that over 300 families in the Manalkadu camp needs to be sent to Vanni where they come from.

He told BBC Sandeshaya that the military was reluctant to allow him to visit camps for the internally displaced people (IDPs) in Jaffna but later allowed on his insistence that the presidential candidates have a right to campaign throughout the island.

No income

"Although the camps are in the vicinity of the sea they are not allowed fishing and the IDPs have to depend on the food rations," Dr. Karunaratne said.

The refugees are held in a military camp environment, he said.

Jaffna that has been under the military and the LTTE for time to time, was last captured by the government security forces in 1995.

Hundreds of IDPs are still kept in Jaffna, but journalists or independent visitors are not allowed to visit the camps.

Dr. Karunaratne, one of the few to gain access, told BBC Sinhala service that the IDPS requested authorities to resettle them in their original lands as soon as possible.

But the government insists that the full resettlement will only be carried out after the de mining in the north is completed.

(c) BBCSinhala

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