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Security concerns must be considered: Sri Lanka tells UNHRC

[DailyMirror, Thursday, 24 September 2009 08:23 No Comment]

EU reiterates fears over plight of displaced people

The Sri Lankan delegation yesterday told the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions that did appreciate the concerns expressed by member states over the plight of the displaced people but the country’s security concerns should also be taken into consideration.

The UNHRC website quoted the Sri Lankan delegation as saying that security concerns still remained and the government hoped for more assistance for demining to facilitate the early resettlement of the refugees.

The delegation said Sri Lanka hoped to complete the resettling of most of the internally displaced people by the end of the year.

“Sri Lanka considered the resettlement of internally displaced people as of paramount importance and was aware it must live up to expectations expressed by the international community but was also aware that the safety and the dignity of the displaced people were also of importance,” the delegation said.

Meanwhile the delegation in its right of reply said that full access for humanitarian agencies to IDP camps could not be guaranteed as security must be safeguarded and suggested the use of funding in a manner that was accountable.

Several countries, including the United States and the European Union expressed concerns during the session over the plight of the displaced people.

The EU reiterated at the session that it remained concerned about allegations of continued human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.

"Arbitrary arrests and detention, allegations of ill-treatment by the government forces, especially of women and children in the internally displaced people’s camps, of human rights defenders and national and international journalists, continue to be reported. Lack of accountability for continuing human rights abuses must be expediently dealt with," the EU said.

It insisted that the IDP camps should be under civilian control with unhindered access by humanitarian organizations and that freedom of movement and security be guaranteed for the internally displaced people.

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