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UN confirms Tamil exodus from Sri Lanka refugee camps

[BBC, Thursday, 19 November 2009 15:12 No Comment]

UN humanitarian chief John Holmes has confirmed that more than half the Tamils who were in refugee camps in northern Sri Lanka have now left them.

The camps were set up to house Tamils who fled the final stages of Sri Lanka’s 25-year civil war which ended in May.

Mr Holmes, who has just visited the area, said fewer than 135,000 people now remained in the camps.

The government had been under pressure to speed up their resettlement.

Mr Holmes said it was an extremely welcome development, and that it was clear those who had been able to go home were glad to be going back to their villages.

He expressed the hope that the issue of freedom of movement for those remaining in the camps would be tackled soon – and said the Sri Lankan government had indicated some flexibility on this.

But he still had concerns about the nature of the returns process, and said there had been some lack of consultation with the Tamils themselves, and with the UN.

[Full Coverage]

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