Return of 3,800 detained Tamils cancelled – TearFund

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 September 2009, 02:29 GMT]
TearFund, a Christian relief and development agency, this week renewed its call for hundreds of thousands of Tamils detained in Sri Lanka’s concentration camps to be allowed home. A scheduled return of 3,800 detained Tamils to a region being assisted by TearFund was cancelled two days ago - even after detainees had packed to return home, the agency said. TearFund also called for an international commission of inquiry into possible war crimes committed by both sides during the armed conflict in Sri Lanka after viewing Channel 4 video footage, allegedly showing Sri Lanka army soldiers executing Tamil men in January of this year.

"The appalling footage is yet to be verified but it highlights the need for an independent investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka," said TearFund programmes manager Esther Ducai.

As Sri Lanka is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court this would require a UN Security Council Resolution or consideration again by the UN Human Right Commission, she said.

TearFund is still serving in Sri Lanka through a local partner assisting civilian Tamils detained in government controlled camps.

"We have repeatedly argued that civilians should be allowed to return to their lands and that both the perpetrators of war in Sri Lanka be held to account for their conduct in the final months of the war, when at least 8,000 civilians were killed.

Ms Ducai said, a scheduled return of 3,800 detained Sri Lankan Tamils to a region being assisted by TearFund was cancelled two days ago - even after detainees had packed to return home.

"People are deeply frustrated and acutely vulnerable having given their only remaining possessions to others in the camp. Already some camps have experienced dramatic flooding during the current monsoon season and this has led to further suffering,” the agency said in a statement.

“We fear that holding on to these civilians for so long has greatly added to their suffering and has given opportunity for human rights abuses."

External Links:
TF: TearFund


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