Sri Lanka: disappearances in IDP camps reach alarming levels
Camp disappearances reach alarming levels - Rights advocate [TamilNet, Sunday, 14 June 2009, 04:21 GMT]
Sunila Abeysekera, a human rights activist and executive director of INFORM human rights documentation center in Sri Lanka, in an interview to Real News Network in Toronto, accused the Sri Lanka Government authorities of not providing enough attention to the welfare of the nearly 300,000 people in the internment camps who have come to these camps after months of deprivation, and said that the lack of proper registration procedures for the people inside the camp is providing Colombo a free hand in facilitating the Paramilitaries to take youths out of the camps in large numbers without any accountability.
fourteen elderly people died of starvation in one day.
"Many of the people are dehydrated and have infected wounds," Abeysekara said, and pointed to the April 11th statement by the High Court Judge in Vavuniyaa that fourteen elderly people died of starvation in one day.
Manik Farm Internment Camp Abeysekara said that she cannot accept Sri Lanka Government's stand that they will screen the 300,000 people before giving access to independent NGOs including ICRC, and UNHCR, and that independent observers should be allowed to monitor the screening process.
She also said that more than 200 youths between the ages of 11 and 17 were taken from the Manik farm camp in Vavuniyaa last week, and the Government has not disclosed the list of the youths taken. "The parents of these youths are desparate," Ms Abeysekera said.
Government admits that they have 10,000 LTTE surrendees and captives in who have surrendered, Ms Abeysekera said. "We don't know where they are. We don't have a list of who they are. There are families of senior LTTE cadres are in Government custody. For example, Soosai's wife and children are captured by the Sri Lanka Navy. We are trying to find where these people are. And it is impossible," Ms Abeysekara added.
Ms Abeysekera was honored as a Human Rights Watch Defender at the 2007, Voices for Justice Dinner Worldview.