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More on SL Camps: “Deeply Distressing”

October 9, 2009

bbc

Sri Lanka refugees plead for freedom

Rapidly built up for the Tamil refugee influx last spring, Menik Farm has pylons, banks, even cash machines – and thousands upon thousands of tents in the cleared arid lands west of Vavuniya in northern Sri Lanka.

Since my earlier visit in April, the camp has swollen to cover some 10 zones, the number of camp-dwellers has ballooned to a quarter of a million, while over 20,000 have been resettled or more informally released, the government says.

This was the BBC’s first chance to view all this infrastructure close-up.

Distressing conversations

A government intensely sensitive to outside criticism or suggestions, and wary of any outsider’s intentions in wanting to visit the camps, was now giving the BBC admittance, alongside the UK’s Development Minister, Mike Foster. That in itself seemed like notable progress.

And yet, just five minutes of conversation with the camp-dwellers was deeply distressing.

Starting by talking to us through our car-window, women, one after the other, piled on tales of hopelessness in the Tamil language.

Click here for full artice

This article appeared in Sri Lankan media. Please note we cannot verify the independence of the information in this report.

Lanka News Web – Tamils make history at the UK Labour Party Conference

Tamils made history in the UK with a momentous passing of an emergency resolution on Sri Lanka at the Labour Party Conference on Thursday, 1 October 2009.

The sitting government party passed a resolution condemning the treatment of Tamils in Sri Lanka by that government. Resolution was passed unanimously by thousands of delegates at the conference and in front of millions of live TV viewers.

The notable resolution was delivered by Mr Paul Kenny, General Secretary of GMB, Britain’s general trade union, representing over 5 million members through its affiliate bodies. Delivering a bold, yet passionate speech, Mr Kenny was able to clearly articulate the desperate
situation faced by Tamils locked up in ‘internment camps’ in Sri Lanka.

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