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Al Jazeera video: Disease threat in Sri Lanka camps

Sri Lanka has rejected claims that the lives of hundreds of thousands of Tamils held in internment camps are in "serious danger" from a looming threat of disease.

But speaking to Al Jazeera, Brad Adams, Asia Director for New York-based Human Rights Watch, reiterated the group's view that a major humanitarian disaster is likely.

Sri Lanka defends internment camps:

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Rajiva Wijesinha, the secretary of the Sri Lanka's ministry of disaster management and human rights, admitted there had been problems with toilets and drainage and floods in August.

But he blamed the UN for the situation, accusing its agencies of not fulfilling promises to upgrade or repair facilities and doing "very shoddy" work in the camps.

Wijesinha said that there was a need for what he called "decongestion" of the camps, adding: "We have asked for assistance on sending people away to some of the districts they had originally come from, and we believe this is going on reasonably well … perhaps much better than Human Rights Watch understands."

He repeated the government's position that it is trying to release the detained Tamils, but said the process had been slow because they need to be screened for rebel ties, and their villages in the former battle zone remain heavily mined. [courtesy: Al Jazeera]

3 Comments

This fellow Rajiva Wijesinha never speaks the truth. The Sri Lankan government is strictly enforcing the control of all the camps and if anything goes wrong they put the blame on UN other humanitarian providers. Rajiva, do you realize that these NGO's are doing you a favor for all the killing and destructions you have done in that area and now they are trying to carry your baby and you’re telling all sorts of lies to justify your negligence and willful detention of the innocent people in these camps. The world is very smart and they know what is happening there.

Posted by: Martin Thomas | October 13, 2009 01:27 PM

Martin Thomas,

Do you know that the Sri Lankan authorities foresaw the damage that can be done by the monsoon rains and tried to construct structures that can sustain these conditions. But your so called NGO angles disagreed with that claiming that then it will indirectly encourage the government to retain the IDPs in these cams for longer duration. Now these short-sighted NGOs are crying that the monsoon are coming near and the shelters are not strong enough. What Rajive did was just point this out.

If the NGOs can't work according to government regulations they can leave and we Sri Lankans will do our best to take care of the IDPs. But I can assure you that they won't go. This is not because that they really want to serve the IDPs but to retain the share of foreign aid money directed through them. I guess you are a member of a NGO and you know that running a NGO is a very rewarding thing.

Posted by: SLFireBall | October 13, 2009 11:54 PM

SlfireBall,
Don't you think SL is keeping all these Idps illegally in the internment camps under barbed wires. Did not they think these Tamils are also Srilankan citizens, if they don't think they ar SL citizens then why not let them form their EElam and mind their own busines.Instead bleed the whole country.

Posted by: Thamilan | October 20, 2009 12:00 PM

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