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Amnesty and EU speak out. What now?

October 9, 2009

Amnesty International – Sri Lankan displaced trapped between the military and the impending monsoon

A quarter of a million Sri Lankans now being held in de facto detention camps are facing a humanitarian disaster as monsoon rains threaten to flood camps, said Amnesty International on Thursday.

Months after the government of Sri Lanka set up camps in Vavuniya District in the north-east of the country following the end of the conflict there, the authorities are still failing to deliver basic services.

Camps remain overcrowded and lack basic sanitation facilities and heavy rains in September saw rivers of water cascading through tents with camp residents wading through overflowing sewage.

“People living in these camps are desperate to leave. The government must ensure that the displaced are treated with dignity. They have a right to protection and must be consulted on whether they wish to return to their homes or resettle,” said Yolanda Foster, Amnesty International’s Sri Lanka expert, who is in contact with relatives of people inside the camp

Click here to view full statement

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Shirking a moral duty to Sri Lanka

The EU acknowledges that Sri Lanka does not comply with human rights obligations, yet still grants it trade preferences

In 2005, when the EU’s generous tariff preferences arrangement, the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+), was under review, Romano Prodi challenged why, of the countries in the region, Sri Lanka should be granted GSP+ status instead of, say, India or Pakistan. The then Sri Lankan prime minister argued that GSP+ benefits would assist in post-tsunami reconstruction. Sri Lanka’s case prevailed on the strength of the then peace process and the existence of an internationally sponsored ceasefire agreement of 2002, which position found resonance with the EU but which the government of Sri Lanka unilaterally abrogated in January 2008.

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Sri Lanka seeks extra 20pct for ’09 defence budget

Sri Lanka’s government on Thursday sought an additional 39.6 billion rupees ($345 million) to fund its military, a 20 percent increase from the original defence budget despite the end of a 25-year war against Tamil Tigers in May.

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ThaiIndia News : Protest against Sri Lankan diplomat over “irresponsible” comment

Hundreds of Tamils and pro- Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) supporters staged a demonstration in Chennai on Thursday, demanding the Indian government to initiate steps to immediately send back Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner Vadivel Krishnamoorthy.

Krishnamoorthy was recently involved in a controversy over his comment that the camps of displaced Tamils in Lanka were not zoos to be visited by outside people.

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