UK main opposition: “serious concerns” about Sri Lanka camps

[TamilNet, Thursday, 27 August 2009, 12:46 GMT]
As British Tamil groups prepared to launch a campaign to raise public awareness of Sri Lanka’s concentration camps, the UK’s main opposition Conservative Party joined the chorus of international protests about the “continued confinement” of hundreds of thousands of Tamils. Calling for “full and unrestricted access” for international humanitarian actors, Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague stressed the importance of the Sri Lankan government living up to its commitment to allow the people to return to their homes by the end of the year. Tamil expatriates in UK will on Thursday – the “100th Day behind barbed wire” - launch an awareness campaign titled “Unlock the Concentration Camps in Sri Lanka.”

“100 days on from the conflict which blighted Sri Lanka for decades, William Hague has expressed serious concerns about the fate of the innocent civilians who are now residing in internment camps,” a press release by the Conservative Party said.

Mr. Hague called for UN and relief organisations to be given "full and unrestricted access to provide shelter, food, water, and medicine, and to oversee the screening process," the statement said.

“[This] call [is] made all the more urgent by the onset of the monsoon season,” the Party said, in reference to the severe flooding which has submerged much of the barbed-wire ringed camps and allowed sewage to float through the tents.

Hague also stressed the importance of the Sri Lankan government living up to its commitment to allow the people to return to their homes by the end of the year.

"Their continued confinement in camps will simply sow the seeds of discontent and may lead to renewed conflict in years to come,” he warned “This would be a disastrous setback for the country when peace has been so hard won."

"Whilst we are glad that Sri Lanka is now free from the scourge of terrorism, we have repeatedly urged the Sri Lankan government to take all possible measures to prevent further suffering," Mr. Hague also said.

The Conservative Party’s expression of concern about the continued internment of almost three hundred thousand people comes as Tamil expatriates in the UK launched an agitation campaign titled “Unlock the Concentration Camps in Sri Lanka.”

The British Tamil Forum, an umbrella campaign group, says the “continuous awareness campaign” will go on “until all 280,000 illegally detained people are freed to return to their own homes.”

The campaign will be launched at a public meeting Thursday evening and will begin with a protest in front of the British Prime Minister’s official residence, 10 Downing Street, Friday afternoon, BTF said.


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