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Rights group urges resettlement for Sri Lanka’s displaced

[Reuters, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 07:42 No Comment]

The international advocacy group Human Rights Watch urged the Sri Lankan government on Wednesday to release hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilian confined to displacement camps despite the end of the country’s civil war.

"Haven’t they been through enough?" asked Brad Adams, the group’s Asia director, in an e-mailed statement.

"Keeping several hundred thousand civilians who had been caught in the middle of a war penned in these camps is outrageous. They deserve their freedom, like all other Sri Lankans."

The call comes days after the United States also urged the resettlement of more than 280,000 civilians held in sprawling camps in the north since May, when government troops crushed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to end a 25-year-old war.

Eric P. Schwartz, the U.S. Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, said after a visit to the camps that Colombo was making progress, but more was needed.

"The United States is deeply concerned about a range of issues," Schwartz told Reuters.

Sri Lanka has pledged to resettle the bulk of the displaced within six months — a tall order given the thousands of landmines that have to be cleared across former Tiger territory.

[Full Coverage]

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