200,000 people still detained in Sri Lanka camps

The Washington Post reports that

Facing pressure from the Obama administration and the European Union, the Sri Lankan government last month launched a campaign to resettle tens of thousands of the minority Tamil detainees. But interviews in the country’s war-ravaged north reveal that many civilians have merely been shuffled from the large camps to smaller transit ones and are being held against their will. Others have been released, only to be taken from their homes days later with no indication of where they have gone.

Read the full story here. Read related stories on the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA website here.

The Post story also reports that

Human rights groups say the government is lying about its resettlement efforts; authorities concede they are using the camps as a tool to uncover any remaining Tamil militants but deny they are deliberately stalling civilians’ return home.

Tamil leaders worry that if civilians end up languishing in the camps indefinitely, the situation will only breed more resentments and risk spawning another generation of rebels. But the government says it needs more time to de-mine vast stretches of land in the north, as well as to repair infrastructure damaged by war. Authorities also say they continue to root out rebels who have blended into the civilian population.

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