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Sri Lanka: Free Civilians From Detention Camps

July 30, 2009

HRW – Sri Lanka: Free Civilians From Detention Camps

The Sri Lankan government should immediately release the more than 280,000 internally displaced Tamil civilians held in detention camps in northern Sri Lanka, Human Rights Watch said today.

The government, in violation of international law, has since March 2008 confined virtually all civilians displaced by the fighting between government forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in detention camps, euphemistically called “welfare centers” by the government. Only a small number of camp residents, mainly the elderly, have been released to host families and institutions for the elderly.

“Keeping several hundred thousand civilians who had been caught in the middle of a war penned in these camps is outrageous,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Haven’t they been through enough? They deserve their freedom, like all other Sri Lankans.”

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