Vanni civilians in Vavuniyaa camps mentally affected – Rev. Jeyanesan

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 18 February 2009, 09:04 GMT]
The civilians fleeing the war zone in Vanni and held in the detainment camps in Vavuniyaa are mentally affected severely as they are not permitted to come in contact with their family members or relatives living out of Vanni, according to the interview given to BBC Tamil service by Rev. S. Jeyanesan, the head of the Church of American Ceylon Mission in Sri Lanka, Monday. Rev. Jeyaneasn and his group, obtaining special permission, visited the various detention camps in Vavuniyaa where the Vanni civilians are held to learn of the situation of the detainees.

“We did not see any other outsider in the camps... the army and a few representatives of the organizations helping the detainees are the only outsiders we saw within the camps,” Rev. Jeyanesan told BBC.

“The primary wish that the detainees expressed was to come in contact with their relatives and this being denied they are mentally affected,” he said.

“The freedom to meet one’s family members or relatives is a basic human right and something should be done to relieve their mental agony,” he further said.

“Women and children are the most affected among the detainees who lack basic amenities as the camps have been hastily set up in schools and open fields,” Rev. Jeyanesan said in his interview.

“There was a director of education, some Saiva and Christian priests among the detainees most of whom are educated ordinary citizens and one of them told me that he never expected to reach Vavuniyaa alive,” he said.

“The detainees are in a situation where they are unable to speak about the reasons to flee the war zone in Vanni,” he added.


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